In this exhibition Shorb creates imagery collected from historical archives with a particular focus on bygone newspapers and scenes of genteel disquietude. Late 19th and early 20th century newspapers are rendered as both nearly illegible palimpsests and wiped-out voids. Shorb’s drawings of these disintegrating papers, emptied of content and reduced to their broadsheet form, suggest tabula rasa, modernist idealism, tombstones, and cracked screens. The printed works multiply, fracture, and layer examples like The Weekly Caucasian and The American Citizen into abstraction, hot off an awry press. These especially partisan papers, whose readers are literally and figuratively on the same page, are absent from the collective memory, but mimic the current state of news. Shorb presents this form of ideally objective information in a mode of ambiguity apt for the white noise that delivers misinformation and propaganda and upholds a brutal status quo. More intimate drawings of birdhouses and hunters offer a vision of hopeless nostalgia for an agrarian past that still remains ubiquitous in Southern iconography. In the Madison Avenue Park space Shorb will present Colonel Memphis, a drawing, depicting a manic Cotton Carnival caricature, affixed to a wooden scaffolding.
Shorb explores what imagery is «fit to print» in a time when everything is available to search.