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Studio Visit - Shane Walsh

Studio Visit

Studio Visit with Shane Walsh

Shane Walsh’s newest body of work, Xpressor, is an abstract exploration of photocopies and their translation into paintings. These hyper-representational paintings begin with small-scale collages constructed from photocopies of various shapes and marks, some expressive, others graphic and digital.

The result is works that speak to a deeper narrative, relating to the way information is distorted when transmitted, either through time and culture, or through a xerox machine.

Q.

Tell us about this body of work, launching on TAPPAN...

A.

The paintings were all made over the past few years and are part of a body of work about abstract painting and the way abstraction’s legacy intersects with my life experiences. Specifically, the work explores how influences from subcultures of the 1990’s can be combined with abstract painting. I was involved with graffiti and hip hop as a teenager , my friends skated and were in punk bands so all of that has had a lasting visual impact. It feels like I’ve been able to finally get these influences into my work in a way that feels surprising and fresh to me.

 

Q.

Describe your work in three words....

A.

Deliberate, ecstatic, measured

Q.

What is your creative process?

A.

The philosophical ideas, themes and concepts usually evolve over time and are related to my research or interests, things I’m curious about and wonder if I could make paintings about. This particular body of work begins by making numerous index sheets of brushmarks. I think of these like species of marks, each sheet responds to different tendencies within abstraction, expressive, controlled, mannered, etc.. I then make photocopies of these and increase or decrease their size, manipulate and distort them. These then are used to construct small scale collages which serve as a template for the paintings. I purposely leave a lot of room between the collage and the final painting though, the translation of information into paint is always the most fun and challenging. I’ve liked the way that the process is heavily mediated, to me there’s a ton of content in process.

What is your life philosophy?

"Do what you like to do as often as possible, also don’t be a dick."

Q.

Your work often features images that appear to have been photocopied. What is the impetus behind this symbolism?

A.

In many ways these paintings are hyper-representational, like I mentioned they all begin from actual collages of photocopied brush marks. I’m trying to retain that reference in the paintings. It’s been a lot of fun trying to figure out how to make paint behave like a photocopy. I had to sort of relearn how to paint in order to make these work the way I intended. The image breakdown and degradation relates to the way information is distorted when it’s transmitted, either through time and culture or through a xerox machine, it’s been a useful analogy for me.

    

Q.

What messages or emotions do you hope to convey to your audience?

A.

Well I hope viewers experience the physical and formal pleasures in the work at first, then ideally move on to the other layers of content. I’m not aiming for a specific emotion or message, I just hope that it leads audiences to ask questions.

 

Q.

Why are you drawn to using a monochromatic palette? Do you think you will explore color in the future?

A.

The black and white palette is specific to the ideas of this body of work. I always let the ideas find the form, I can’t imagine working any other way. My previous bodies of work have had lots of color, but those choices were connected to those particular bodies of work. I’m sure at some point my ideas will require color to reemerge.

 

Q.

Where do you find inspiration from in your daily life?

A.

Everything is inspiring, the tough part is sifting through it all to find out what’s useful.

 

Q.

How does modern culture influence your work?

A.

I want my work to live in the present-tense, I’m not interested in making nostalgic paintings.

 

Q.

Who are some contemporaries or figures in art history who have influenced you?

A.

The entire history of art is overwhelmingly influential, of course I like some moments and artists better than others, Stanley Kubrick, Frank Stella, Chris Ofili, Mickalene Thomas, Albert Ohelen, Tim Hawkinson, Picabia, Charlie Kaufman, plus a million more including all the rad artists that I’m lucky enough to be friends with.

 

Q.

Are there any quotes or mantras that you particularly connect with?

A.

I like that quote by Chuck Close about not waiting around for inspiration to strike, treating painting like any other job that you get up and do everyday.

 

Q.

 What art would you love to have in your own collection?

A.

- Fayum portrait
- Late Picasso
- Elizabeth Murray
- Albert Bierstadt
- Barbara Rossi and pretty much any and all of the Chicago Imagists - This Grace Hartigan painting called “When the Raven Was White”

 

Q.

What makes you laugh?

A.

Memes about the art world

 

Q.

What makes you nervous?

A.

The first day of each new semester

Q.

What makes you excited about the future?

A.

Flying cars and square cantaloupes

About Shane Walsh

Shane Walsh uses collage and photographic processes to reconstruct images of abstraction and representation that feel appropriate to his time and place.

 

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Be it two or three dimensional, descriptive, implied or abstract, the use of form, line and shape go beyond mere geometry.

 

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