Caitlin Berry Fine Art and Culture House Presents Joseph Shetler In Pursuit of Nothing

By Editorial Team on January 24, 2022

Sat, 22 January 2022 - Sat, 05 March 2022

Joseph Shetler, Untitled (the Other), 2020, encaustic on panel, 14 x 14 x 1.5 in.


In partnership with Culture House, Caitlin Berry Fine Art presents Joseph Shetler: In Pursuit of Nothing. The exhibition is on view from January 22–March 5, 2022 and is open to the public each Saturday from 11am – 2pm. Masks are required to enter the exhibition. A closing reception, virtual talks and other programming will be announced during the course of the show.

The exhibition’s title, In Pursuit of Nothing, is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fundamental right, “pursuit of happiness,” asserted in the Declaration of Independence. Shetler observes that the pursuit of happiness in modern society is quite often distorted into the pursuit of wealth; he ultimately rejects this equivocation. The pursuit of nothing is his answer to today’s insidious greed and individualism.

“To pursue nothing is to have the objectivity to recognize what brings true happiness despite the unrelenting bombardment of the aesthetics of happiness according to pop culture, workplace culture, advertising and corporations,” says Shetler.

The quiet elegance of Shetler’s work speaks to this pursuit of objectivity on a spiritual plane. Looking toward Frank Stella’s 1959 black paintings and the muted white and pale hued works of Robert Ryman and Agnes Martin in the 1960s, Shetler defines his own material vocabulary and lexicon of lines. While his grids on monochrome media hearken to traditional Mennonite quilt patterns, these grids have become more of a reflection of himself as a whole than of the quilting tradition. His output is less influenced by the ideals of others.

Of his process, Shetler states, “Creating works about ‘nothing’ or the non-objective nature of the work, holds space for me to gain proper perspective. The labor of drawing, the craft of drawing, and the materials I use bring me joy.”

Through this exhibition, Shetler offers viewers a space for objectivity and grace in a world rife with meaningless metrics against which we measure our worth.

All paintings on view in the exhibition are available for sale through Caitlin Berry Fine Art. Please reply to this email to request additional information.

Joseph Shetler (American, b. 1984) is an American post-minimalist artist. He approaches post-minimalism with a Mennonite lens, basing his aesthetic off of anabaptist theology and simple way of life as well as art history. He has exhibited nationally at The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC, Step Gallery in Phoenix, AZ, Goshen College, IN, and internationally at Dr. J Art Projects in Berlin, Germany. His work is included in the collection of Arizona State University and Hesston College and in private collections globally. He was educated at Hesston College (A.A. 2004), Goshen College (B.A. 2006), and Arizona State University (M.F.A. 2014). He lives in Hyattsville, MD.

Culture House is located in Southwest Washington, DC and was founded on the principle that art is a catalyst for change in the community. It is dedicated to providing inspiration and motivation for those who encounter its power, either through experiences or events. The mission of Culture House is to provide a functional art space for all to enjoy and learn more about the arts culture through exhibitions, events, live performances, and artist workshops. The venue embraces all things creative with all its being.

Culture House is located at 700 Delaware Ave SW.