* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.
Shelby Shadwell is a Laramie, WY based artist who is currently an Assistant Professor of Drawing at the University of Wyoming.
Shelby describes the work by saying, “In these large scale drawings, I am formally exploring the visual tensions between representation and abstraction, as my observed subject, masses of black plastic trash bags, piles of cockroaches and sculptures of diapers invoke the sensibility of a Rorschach test for viewers to contemplate. On a conceptual level, it cannot be denied that these subjects also have in common connotations of disposability, decay and, most notably, repulsion. The drawings themselves are meticulously rendered to convey the opposite, to be objects that are sumptuous and attractive for the audience. The inherent contrasts between light / dark, representation / abstraction, and attraction / repulsion may call into question what we value in art and in a broader cultural context. I believe that my work fits into the ongoing dialogue that elevates the mundane, the ephemeral or the vulgar to a higher status thereby reflecting parts of society that we often refuse to acknowledge in the mirror of traditional norms. Observational drawing is a very direct way to have this conversation with the viewer with additive and reductive methods of applying charcoal and other abrasive materials on paper or prepared linen being the most economical and meditative process for me. The title for this body of work, AUNIVERSAL PICTURE, comes from my only slightly tangential interest in horror films, Universal Studios being one of the more prominent institutions that shaped the modern monster media landscape.”