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AUTOMAT Collective is pleased to announce The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea, a 2-person exhibition of works by Jen Shepard and Daniel Wiener. Curator Nadine Beauharnois and all AUTOMAT members would like to extend our most sincere thanks to Spillway Collective for generously offering us their gallery space for this exhibition. The words “between the devil and the deep blue sea”, from the eponymous 1932 song recorded by such artists as Ella Fitzgerald and Thelonious Monk, imply a state of being between frightening or unfathomable unknowns. Shepard and Wiener make work that mines the unknowns of human emotions or environments to which few have visited, like the moon or the bottom of the sea. Wiener’s expressive, color saturated Apoxie-sculpt wall and floor sculptures, often titled after lines of poetry, suggest human faces and gestures. Each of Wiener’s sculptures has its own topography: some rippled and landscape-like, others sinuous and more figurative, composing a cast of characters at once familiar and alien. Shepard’s paintings and installations often include elements that reference the natural world, like sea kelp, rainbows, clouds, moon rocks and planetary shapes. Shepard avoids literal representation of these objects and natural phenomena and introduces a sense of play with high-keyed color, inviting us into an environment like one we may know, but in which different rules apply; here, clouds have stripes, and lightning and ocean vegetation exist in the same plane. In making work that remains outside the realm of specificity, both Shepard and Wiener have the freedom to invent and inhabit their own worlds.