SHELBY SHADWELL

Creative Research

Economy

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Economy

The representational subject in the work has its roots in my recent migration to Wyoming.  I have responded not only to the unique spatial qualities of the western landscape, but also to the figures of the commercial trucking industry that have come to dominate it.  When I drive, I try to imagine what the trailers hold, from mundane conveniences of everyday experience like toilet paper or cooking spray to currencies of the underground economy like illegal immigrants or drugs.

As in previous bodies of work, I continue to explore the conceptual relationship between image and title.  The title for both the exhibition and each piece, Economy, began as a reference to a personal search for a more economic solution to a formal visual problem in my work.  I often completed the drawings in one sitting eschewing the look of the hyper real in favor of gritty atmospheric effects created with layers of brushed and blended material.  The efficiency of this method led to an investigation of one of the most fundamental aspects of composition and image making, the figure ground relationship, as the contrast between positive and negative shapes, depth and flatness, movement and suspension became the emphasis of the hard edged oil paintings.

Economy also refers to the seemingly endless trafficking of goods to meet the demands of consumer driven markets and culture.  Rapidly changing financial and environmental conditions are rightfully causing artists to raise questions as to the sustainability of unfettered free markets, unlimited growth, and the energy sources used to fuel it all.  So in this context the form and content of the work begins to comment on one another.  In the drawings I see truck figures melting into the ground, mired in thick landscapes of carbon while in the paintings I see truck figures fallen, contorted and suspended in vast fields of oil.

Written by shelby.shadwell

March 15th, 2013 at 11:16 am

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