The Waves


David Shapiro


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Color lithograph on paper David Shapiro (1944-2014) was a prolific abstract painter, lithographer and printmaker who explored color, form and texture in his work. He obtained art degrees from the Pratt Institute and Indiana University from 1966-1968. He was a distinguished teacher at Barnard College and the Parsons School of Design, as well as a known collaborator with the Tandem Press, The Wildwood Press and the Goya-Girl Press. During his lifetime, David Shapiro participated in over eighty solo exhibitions throughout the world. As a practicing Buddhist, he incorporated signs and symbols from Eastern philosophy producing a visual mantra of tranquility in his art. His work has been described as transcendent abstraction, bringing the viewer closer to a meditative state through repetitive forms and quiet color. His influences derived from the work of Paul Klee for his use of line and color. Brice Marden's minimalist work and use of monochromatic color and Mark Tobey's use of diffused light and surface mark making. David Shapiro emphasized pattern and movement on the surface through the use of Nepalese and Japanese paper and the additions of metal filings, pumice, and fabric. This print illustrates his interest in Eastern philosophy and idea of 'allostasis', which he referenced as stability through change. He was known to be acutely aware of his surroundings through his practice and how things related to one another. This unity can be seen in the flowing waves or the Hindu gesture of the mudra and in the mandala sphere of the orange sun, which he translated as the starting and ending of meditation. The horizontal undulating waves reference the art of savasana, a yogic posture of lying down, rest and peace. David Shapiro believed that his calligraphic brush stroke in his art making was an extension of his breath and the mark on the surface a connection of his body to the canvas.