Francesca Pastine – Totem

January 10th – February 21st, 2015

Solo Show: Curiosity, January 7th – February 25th, 2017
Solo show: Totem, January 10th – February 21st, 2015
Solo show: UNSOLICITED, May 26th – July 7th 2012
Group show: In The Dark: Three Considerations; Joe Bender, Niall McClelland & Francesca Pastine, February 12th – March 26th, 2011


For Francesca Pastine’s third exhibition, and second solo show with the gallery she further investigates working with her subscription to the New York Times and ARTFORUM magazines as material for her work. She is interested in the complexities between the relationship of form and information that exist in our interaction with printed media.

Pastine pushes far beyond the initial materials into complex manipulations of the actual magazine and then into new territory of creating photographs and then prints of her New York Times sculptures. Her solo show includes both bodies of work united by the themes of totems and masks as “power objects”.

Pastine has intricately cut and folded pages from ARTFORUM magazines to create masks and totems. She did not actively seek to make the masks with any particular cultural reference in mind.  Instead, she relies on her imagination and subconscious images of “masks” held in her mind’s eye. Through re-contextualizing and subverting the ARTFORUM magazine to her own ends, she conflates socio-economic and political conditions with her lived experience. In this way, she sees the masks as “power objects” that function in a similar way to ritual masks and totems. The original function of ARTFORUM as an authority of cultural production is thwarted and, instead, it becomes an object d’art that reads as a relic rather than a commentator.

In the New York Times works, the subjects in her photographs are masks created from the New York Times “Market Gauge” pages. She embellished the newspaper pages with silver leaf, then folds and cuts them to create masks. She then photographs the finished masks using a 4 x 5 view camera and film. Integral to her process is using the view camera since that process is more hands-on and time intensive than digital media and thus the slow process informed the formalism of the photographs. She then scans the negatives and manipulates the image in Photoshop. She wanted the photographs to look mysterious and murky, as though they are documentations of an archeological dig from an earlier era. Her intention is to create an immediate emotional response and then have the masks slowly reveal themselves as artifacts of present-day financial systems.

Press for the Show:

Francesca Pastine: Totem – Lisa Kramer Vintage.pdf