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Installation view from  Light/Weight  with works by Steve Pauley.  Photography Courtesy of Haik Studio.

Installation view from Light/Weight with works by Steve Pauley.  Photography Courtesy of Haik Studio.

Steve Pauley, Light/Weight
January 26- February 24, 2018

Curated by Jessica L. Porter

Equity Gallery, 245 Broome Street, New York, NY 10002
Opening Reception:  January 26th, 6 - 8 PM
Gallery Hours: Wednesday - Friday, 1 - 7 PM and Saturday, 12 - 6 PM


Equity Gallery is pleased to present Light/Weight, a solo exhibition by Steve Pauley.  The exhibition will be on view from January 26th through February 24th, 2018 with a public opening reception on Friday, January 26th, 6-8pm.

With 11 years of experience making tombstones, Steve Pauley employs innovative and inventive applications of stone-carving and engraving to create a body of work which combines elements of sculpture, photography, and printmaking. Pauley pushes the boundaries of stonework utilizing the natural reflectivity of polished stone to project his engravings as light and shadow onto photosensitive paper, capturing the image almost photographically. Defying the expectation that art made with stone is permanent, static, and unyielding Pauley creates a more dynamic, fluid territory by intertwining the solidness of stone with the ephemeral nature of light and shadow. The carved image becomes untethered, freed from its dense, rigid trappings while the pictograms it produces are ever changing in scale, color, and depth of field.

Using the visual language of engraving intrinsically tied to honor and venerate, Pauley employs this association and unexpectedly combines it with visual lexicons of the mundane, the fleeting, and even the defiled, such as vandalism and graffiti. Pauley depicts vulgarities and doodles etched onto a public restroom stall or the spray painted swoops found in back alleys with the same type of finely, lovingly detailed carvings found on a memorial. Through explorations like these, Pauley finds the fine line between the temporal and the eternal, as well as the uncomfortable similarities found in the primal desire for instant gratification and the need to idealize and commemorate the unattainable past.   

Steve Pauley is originally from North Carolina. He relocated to West Virginia where he received his BA from West Virginia State University and MA from Marshall University. While living there, he made thousands of tombstones for his community. He learned to engrave stone, which is a process where he uses a diamond tipped pencil (or scribe) to lightly scratch the surface of the stone. He also learned to sandblast, which involves blowing sand at high air pressure through hand-cut stencils, effectively carving away the stone’s surface. He carried these skills, as well as his photographic experience as a teacher at West Virginia State University, into his own art-making. After receiving his MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, he moved to Brooklyn, where he still lives and works.

Pauley has shown his work internationally, including at Skolska28 Prague, CR. Solo exhibitions include The Gallery at St. Mary the Virgin Cathedral in Times Square, the Broadway Gallery in New York, Amalie Rothschild Gallery in Baltimore and Della Brown Taylor Gallery, WVSU, among others. New York Times art critic Holland Cotter described Pauley’s work as the most striking and unorthodox in the exhibition Bird Flew, curated by Robert Storr, at Tribes gallery in NY.