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Claudette Schreuders, Complice, 2021. Jelutong wood, enamel and oil paint, 27.56 x 20.87 x 13.78 inches. © Claudette Schreuders. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Claudette Schreuders: Double

Jack Shainman Gallery

Until April 2, 2022

By PETRA MASONMarch 2022

Serendipity played a role in the success of South African artist Claudette Schreuders. In 1999, when there was a museum of African art on Broadway (just below Houston), the museum hosted Liberated Voices: Contemporary Art from South Africa.

Freed voices aimed to ‘highlight major artistic trends in contemporary art practice in South Africa’ and presented an ambitious program that featured over 65 paintings, sculptures, photographs and video installations created after 1994, debuting successfully and amplifying others while visually marking the new democracy.

A few days after it opened, Schreuder’s sculptures appeared in the New York Times review of the show. The journal made its way into the hands of gallery owner Jack Shainman when he moved to New York’s West Side and the rest is history. The then 28-year-old artist went on to exhibit with Shainman forever (now 22 years old) and the enviable stability and longevity of the artist/gallery owner relationship makes one yearning for a sculpture by Schreuders depicting the couple in an eternal bond.

Claudette Schreuders, First Person, 2021. Jelutong wood, enamel and oil paint, 70 x 40 x 23 cm. © Claudette Schreuders. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Now in mid-career, and still fascinated by duets and couples, for Double (her seventh solo exhibition with the gallery) Schreuders focuses on duplication by repeating the same figure as a haunting reflection of herself, “making visible the isolation of recent years with spectral, doubled figures – figures left in their own business.

Reflecting the eerie calm of the double lives we lead, from what we do in private to how we present ourselves in public, each haunting character reminds us in our echo chambers ‘that we can’t run away from each other, no matter how much we might want’.

Jelutong’s four large-scale sculptures in wood, enamel and oil paint are hand-carved by the artist and the colored pencil works on paper are originals, including four large-scale drawings reflecting the sculptures .

Unable to step into the show as I once would have, Shainman Gallery Director Elisabeth Sann and I took a Zoom walk from our different time zones that left me with a distinctly eerie feeling, like if I had an out of body experience or like I’d turned into Claudette Schreuders ‘Intruder’ WM