photos by Erin Kermanikian
Sometime in June of 2009, amid a very strong group show,Western Project exhibited two paintings by a just-discovered Aaron Sheppard. The paintings exuded a kind ofmagnetism that locked viewers in their sight lines: lessthe shock of novelty than rediscovery - an uncannilyfamiliar, yet slightly archaic, mannerist representation-al style, tinged with qualities both visionary and explicitly, almost appetizingly carnal, as well as a distinct satirical edge.A year and a half after his Debutante's Eclipse (one ofthe paintings that got everyone's attention), Sheppard'sdebut solo show throws the viewer into a host of newissues, obsessions, media and materials. If Sheppard'sfirst Debutante presented us with a glistening vulvanot unlike, as I wrote at the time, "the wound ofAmfortas in Syberberg's film of Parsifal, Yonic Inversion (the yoni is the stylized Hindu representation ofthe vulva) - gives us its inverse in a myriad of incarnations and an expansive range of media and materials.With his first paintings, Sheppard worked the framesthemselves into elaborations and extensions of theirsubjects. Here, he expands beyond the frame and beyondpainting into a show of collage and assemblage thatpushes his visionary theater to the edge and sometimesover it. 

 -Ezrha Jean Black segment from Aaron Sheppard: Yonic Inversion, artillery Jan/Feb 2011