'Sheila Pepe: Mind the Gap' opens Feb. 4 at University Gallery

The exhibition, "Sheila Pepe: Mind the Gap," opens Friday, Feb. 4, 5-7 p.m. in the University Gallery on the lower level of the Fine Arts Center. The exhibition will be on view until May 13.

Responding to the architectural idiosyncrasies of the space in which she works, Pepe creates site-specific installations that are a blend of sculptural and graphic elements. The artist entwines materials such as shoelaces or yarn - in this case, nautical tow-line - into networks that span the room while allowing for a visitor''s comfortable passage. Contrary to what might be thought, it is the systematic precision of her handcraft that makes for a seemingly random accretion of solid forms, the shadows of which contribute to an atmosphere of perceptual play.

Pepe was born in 1959 in Morristown, N.J., and lives and works in New York. The artist has had recent solo exhibitions at the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art in Lake Worth, Florida (2004); the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum in California (2003); and the Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro (2002). Her work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions including "The Photogenic", Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; "Verging on Real", Wave Hill, The Bronx; and "Greater New York," P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York.

An illustrated catalogue will be published by the University Gallery and will be available for purchase during the spring semester. The catalogue will include edited conversations between Pepe and Judy Pfaff, an artist whose site-specific installation "Boa" was presented at the University Gallery in 1982 and who was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2004.

"Sheila Pepe: Mind the Gap" is supported in part by funds from the UMass Arts Council and a gift from Wendy S. Evans Fine Arts Inc., Evans is a 1979 UMass Amherst graduate.