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A NON-PROFIT GALLERY FOR THE VISUAL AND PERFORMING ARTS
SEPTEMBER   2002 
EXHIBITIONS 
DEIRDRA McAFEE &
MARK SHEPHEARD

BLACK BOXES
Skylight Gallery


September 6-29, 2002

Opening Reception
Friday, September 6, 7:00-10:00pm
READING AT 6:30

In Commemoration of 9/11


The black boxes of their thoughts are irretrievable.
Every day a jet crashes into a shining building.
The secret information, the hidden data, the forgotten records.
Cell-phone calls from hijacked planes
Black box damaged on impact and useless.


"The Black Box" is a collaboration between Richmond visual artist Mark Shepheard and writer Deirdra McAfee. The objects here are artists' books--containers of words, or stories as installations.

The date of this show's opening dictated its themes. In the summer of 2001 Shepheard and McAfee submitted a proposal to exhibit at Artspace. That August, they learned that their exhibition was set for September 2002. Then came the terrorist attacks. Shepheard and McAfee began work in the aftermath, pondering the idea that people, too, are black boxes, unpredictable and inscrutable, even to themselves.

The border between art and words interests Shepheard and McAfee. (The title of their first collaboration, in 2000, was "Margin.") The way they work is unusual in its freedom. One offers something--an object, image, or idea--to which the other responds with work. This work is answered with work. They don't discuss how they'll respond or tell each other what they're doing until it's done. The process is playful, full of surprise and discovery. The product is powerful, a striking and provocative combination of the visual and verbal.

The exhibition opens at Artspace, 6 East Broad Street, on September 6, 2002. McAfee will read at 6:30 that night.
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