This work is from a commission to document the studio of Paul Manship and was part of an exhibit at the Addison Gallery of American Art. Text by Allison Kemmerer:
Lingering on the traces left behind in empty, hushed spaces, S. Billie Mandle’s photographs encourage a slowing down, a close-looking that leads to meditation on the seen and the unseen. Her photographs of cast shadows, vacant pedestals, and scuffed walls in the Manship home and studio suggest both absence and presence, capturing the stillness of a space once ﬁlled––now haunted––by past generations.
Struck by the contrast between the masculine power that she saw as characterizing Paul Manship’s work and the feminine/queer vulnerability that informs her own, Mandle felt a kinship with the lesser-known work of the sculptor’s son, John. Her favorite spaces at Starﬁeld were the dim closets and remote attic, where John’s scratched, ﬂaking, and dusty paintings of the Cape Ann property—the house, the quarry, the nearby church and ocean were stored. Though so much effort had gone into their making, they now sat in the dark,unseen and overshadowed by the bright public nature of his father’s sculptures. In these underexposed photographs that bear the titles of their subjects, John’s stowed canvases are brought faintly to light. Revealing themselves only upon close observation, Mandle’s images of images provoke questions about what remains, what fades away, and what happens in the space between what is visible and what is imagined.