Shona Macdonald has had selected solo shows at the Tarble Arts Center, Charleston, IL, (2015); Gridspace, Brooklyn, NY, (2014); Ebersmoore, Chicago, (2012); the Roswell Art Museum, Roswell, NM, (2011); Engine Room, Wellington, New Zealand, (2010); Proof Gallery, Boston, MA (2009); Reeves Contemporary, NY, NY (2008); Den Contemporary, LA, CA, (2007); Skestos-Gabriele, Chicago IL, (2005); Galerie Refugium, Berlin, Germany, (2002); and Fassbender Gallery, Chicago (1998 and 2000). Her work has been included in numerous group shows across the United States, UK, Australia, and Canada. Reviews of her work are included in Art in America, Art News, the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Sacramento Bee, Boston Globe, Artscope, and New American Paintings. She has been a Visiting Artist at over forty institutions, including Wimbledon College of Art, London, (1998); Georgia State University, Atlanta, (2007); Cornell University (2006); the University of Alberta; and the University of Calgary, Canada, (both 2002). Her grants and awards include a Pollock-Krasner Foundation fellowship, (2009); Roswell Artist-in-Residence fellowship (2010-11); Can Serrat fellowship, Barcelona, Spain, (2012); Cromarty Arts Trust fellowship, Scotland; and Ballinglen fellowship, Ireland, (summer of 2017). She is Professor of Studio Art and Graduate Program Director at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Ground Covering and Ghosts, (2015-16), are works on paper depicting various manmade structures suggesting human traces within the Western New England landscape where I live and work. The imagery in these silverpoint works -- blueberry nets echoing shrouds, reflectors resembling eyes, tarps spread over gardens suggesting body bags – are utilitarian structures discovered within landscape environments yet are also metaphors for abandonment, dislocation, and displacement. On the other hand, they are hopeful symbols for human resourcefulness and creativity. Isolated, and at odds with their surroundings, these ‘figurative’ structures become metaphors for our increasing sense of dislocation from the places in which we live and work.
I use silverpoint in these works specifically for its faint, ‘ghostly’ delivery of image to paper. I am interested in how silverpoint’s diaphanous affect suggests memory or, what Marvin Carlson refers to as ‘ghosting,’ – “seeing something we have seen before.” Also, in relation to ghosts, Peter Davidson proposes, “the revenant narrative is essentially of the north and is a product of occluded weather and broodings upon the fate of the dead.” This idea is further emphasized in the Ghost series as the organic, billowing shapes of the nets themselves resemble the outline of albeit imaginary ‘ghostly’ shapes hovering within the landscape. Finally, silverpoint itself is a material that over the course of time, morphs from a cold-silver into a warm sepia tone. The transient nature of growth and decay, as seen in the tended blueberry bushes, is echoed in the amorphous attribute of the material used to depict them.
Learn more about the artist at www.shonamacdonald.com
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