Shelby Shadwell Artist's Talk

November 4, 2023

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Shelby Shadwell Artist's Talk

About the event

Saturday, November 4, 4pm 
Reception to follow: Saturday, November 4, 4-6pm

Join us for an Artist's Talk by Shelby Shadwell, who will discuss his solo exhibition, HAECCEITY. An Opening Reception will follow the talk. Free and open to the public!


I am making large scale charcoal and pastel drawings of space blankets (aka solar blankets, emergency blankets, thermal blankets, etc) which are made of a compact lightweight material used to regulate temperatures of things like spacecraft and human bodies in cold circumstances. One might see them packed in a first aid kit for camping or, more poignantly in recent years, wrapped around migrants detained in camps near the border between the US and Mexico. While the material is cheap and rather flimsy, it has a brilliant sparkling appearance reminiscent of precious stones or metals, thus evoking a something like “fool’s gold”. Due to its similarity to material found at the crash site near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, the blankets may also refer to a shared cultural fascination with space travel and the possible existence of extraterrestrial life. The subject also maintains themes from previous bodies of work such as the representation of abstract folds and contours in the material can evoke pareidolia, or the perception of recognizable form in a random conglomeration or formation of things. I maintain an interest in the implications of how the human mind, as a kind of inference engine, seeks to find patterns where they may or may not exist and how that can lead to the proliferation of things like conspiracy theories.