Nicolas Shake

Nicolas Shake showed works in a variety of media during an open studio at the end of June 2019.

Shake was born in Northridge, California and lives and works in Los Angeles. He studied at the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA, 2008) and Claremont Graduate University, where he earned his MFA in 2011. Shake is a multimedia artist working in painting, photography, and sculpture, with a focus on reframing the everyday human-made detritus that he encounters on the border of the city and the desert. Shake’s sculptures and large-scale installations reference and incorporate elements of this urban and exurban debris. Arranged into carefully lit tableaux, they have been staged along southern California’s San Andreas Fault Line from Coachella Valley to the Salton Sea and via Vast Space Projects in Las Vegas.

Of his approach to making work, Shake has written: “I focus on the cast-off household and utilitarian items that show up in the desert on the outskirts of Los Angeles. The items I engage with could easily be categorized as rhopography, but it is this insignificance that gives them the ability to be reassigned a new aesthetic value, transforming the rubbish into something unexpected by capturing and conveying its uncanny power and peculiar beauty.”

On view at the Locker Plant were works and works in progress that Shake created during his residency. In oblique and transformative ways, Shake’s sculptures made from patterned thermoplastic, dyed fabrics exposed to sun and rain, and abstract works on paper distill and evoke aspects of the West Texas landscape, particularly the zones where one landscape merges with or gives way to another on the outskirts of town.