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Like Apples and Knives: Estefania Velez Rodriguez & Michael Siporin Levine

January 7, 2021 - January 30, 2021

A close-up photograph of a small rectangular box with two eye wholes. The exterior of the box is painted with swaths of green, brown, blue, grey, and yellow paint. The inside of the box, visible through the holes has a small video screen. The moment caught in this photograph shows a person in all black bending over with arms outstretched, as though bowing.

Like Apples and Knives uses painting, drawing, collage, printmaking, and video to explore autobiography, abstraction, and narrative—three themes that are inherent to Estefania Velez Rodriguez and Michael Siporin Levine’s artistic process. In this exhibition the artists created personal work that is in direct response to their everyday life, as they consider the changes brought about by the global pandemic. Painting is a device: one that can hinge, move, activate, sing, task, travel, negotiate, and change. Painting is an object that can enact change, just as a knife cuts. Both artists’ approach to video-making, specifically the ‘thing-ness’ of the physical object and process of making, are immediately seen with the artist’s hands showing in the finished works. Whether it’s jumping at the opportunity to work out of her friend’s studio in Mexico City, or creating a stop-motion animation in his girlfriend’s kitchen window, both artists trusted their intuition as they adapted to a new routine.

Working across mediums, we see a relationship between how Estefania and Michael mix abstraction with observation, through their experimental approach to process, interest in formal composition, use of humor, and each artists’ personal introspection into memory and daily experiences. Both artists’ approach to video-making, specifically the ‘thing-ness’ of the physical object and process of making, are seen through the evidence of the artists’ hand in the finished piece.

In Like Apples and Knives, Michael will present new work including a large-scale work on paper, several smaller scale monoprints, and two recent animations. Imagery in his new body of work includes references to observations on his daily bike commute through Manhattan, park scenes, construction workers, home gyms, and cooking utensils. In his animation KITCHEN, he explores aspects of his daily life in the beginning part of the NYC lockdown through facetime conversations between himself and his girlfriend, the NY Dept. of Labor’s answering machine, and his mom explaining her matzo ball soup recipe.

Estefania Velez Rodriguez includes videos embedded into painting boxes which insulates the viewer into the confined world of the moving image. The videos are created with elements of painting and drawing activated by time, and oral language. Abstracted language, slang, and multiple tongues are explored in the videos as the artist processes life’s inputs through translation. In her video Salta Monte, meaning grasshopper in Spanish, but references transcending obstacles, she quietly chants in multiple languages about moving mountains while pushing painting through an unidentified space. Estefania utilizes cut out paintings and collages to further process notions of isolation, and cultural context of islands, which also isolate societies from larger transitory spaces.

Estefania and Michael met in 2017 while working as artist assistants for the New York based painter, Emily Mason. As Michael and Estefania worked together in Emily’s studio, they shared videos and images of recent work, and both felt a connection to each other’s artistic process– specifically the way they incorporate humor, identity, and performative elements in their paintings, prints, animations, installations, and videos.






BIPOC artist(s), Women artist(s)
Event Type
Gallery, Visual Art, Film & Video
Pandemic Info


112 3rd Ave S
Seattle, WA 98104 United States
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