Joel welcomed his daughter Rachel’s participation in creating an art chair for this event.
Joel Schapira’s art reached its most authentic expression when he realized what it was he didn’t have to do. Years of wrestling with gigantic, thick-painted canvasesbeautiful, impassioned workhad left Schapira with a need to regroup. The short break he anticipated stretched out to over a year without his picking up a brush, a time during which it came to be all right with him if it happened that he never made art again. Then an opening arrived, heralded by a pair of simple realizations: “I don’t have to do what I’ve already done” and, “I don’t have to know what I am doing.” With that, he put aside the will to mastery and reclaimed the ideals of emptiness, receptivity, and humility. Joel replaced the ten-foot canvas with small pieces of cardboard torn or cut from discarded boxes.
Joel’s engagement with paradox and process eventually formed itself into what he terms “structures:” ornate and humble constructions strange as a shaman’s vision, but as teetery and fragile and complex as a human life.