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Shoshana Dentz

“My determination to see and track my barely-there box is to define the volume contained within it, to materialize its potential to hold something within its sides. My box is a stand-in for painting, my series a parallel for trying to grasp the volume that lives within painting space.”

ABOVE: within without (set up for ' transfiguration) (2020-2021)

12" x 14" x 10"

Acetate, scotch tape, iridescent tape, mirrors, wooden block, foil paper and daylight

BELOW: within without, Transfiguration (after James Cone's The Cross and The Lynching Tree with Fra Angelico's Crucifixtion) (2020)

7" x 5"

Pencil on Yupo paper

Shoshana Dentz’s paintings and drawings are based on sustained observation of a still-life set-up she constructs with a transparent box, scotch-tape and mirrors. Faithfully recording all she sees, each work reveals a translucently layered space of intersecting geometric shapes that suggest a portal into another reality. The arrangements of her set-up, and their resulting paintings, draw upon the religious iconography of the Western art-historical canon.


Dentz explores the relationship between painting and the church, particularly the offer of hope and/or transcendence she perceives as embedded in that relationship. Awed by the resilience of Black Americans during the summer of 2020 to demand and protest for justice - to hope in the face of ruthless no hope - she was led to James Cone's book The Cross and the Lynching Tree. For Cone, the image of Jesus on the cross empowered the Civil Rights movement, driving an “ethics of resilience” within Black Christian communities. Her immersion in Cone’s insights and in Black American history shaped the work Dentz was concurrently making.

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