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MACC GAFA Gallery Hosts Ian Shelly Exhibit

1/4/2010

The MACC GAFA Gallery is hosting an exhibit by MU graduate student Ian Shelly. His work consists of ceramic and installation work. Check out his website for a complete look at his work. www.ianshelly.com. The exhibit will run through January 20.

Artist's Statement:

In my work, a tangible place exists where the fields of ceramic art making, weapons manufacturing and scientific research converge. My latest work is composed of these subjects existing in the same atmosphere, constantly crossing and colliding with one another as if part of the same charged electron cloud. More specifically, I see this work as an endless equation of variables, values, formulae and solutions. These subjects are always around us. Like the system and language of chemistry, the characters, materials and scenarios of this equation or chain reaction is in constant motion. The objects and characters of this work push and pull one another as well as engage in destructive, yet inquisitive behavior. I feel that the activities present in my work show the nature of human relationships as seen through the lenses of our societies researchers and artists.

As in the case of the cone, it appears as the model for many shapes, beneficial and destructive. As a traffic cone, it directs and warns of caution. As a bullet it is used to puncture and destroy. As a funnel it is used to channel and concentrate, yet as a warhead it is used to deliver large amounts of energy that break matter apart into its original elements or entirely new ones. Whether this is beneficial or detrimental and to whom is a question that is similar to the moral question that is raised in all types of chemical research and engineering. All the while, clay remains a staple of our existence both in its use as a material used to deliver nourishment today and historically as well as one used to make and propel weapons. The razor sharp edge of when clay and its supporting molecules are used for the greater good and exclusive advantage is also present in the discovery of vaccines, offensive and defensive weaponry as well as nuclear energy.

This sense of right and wrong is subjective and complicated. Complicated and elemental in a way bacteria “spring horsies”, watchtower play forts and scenes depicting first encounter and crime scenes illustrate. In an effort to reflect on the early presence that these subjects have in our lives, this aforementioned connectivity is expressed through a language specific to childhood and is punctuated with objects that reference my early education and play. The childish language in this work comments on two conclusions that stoke the fires of my work; the omnipresent nature of science in our daily lives and the similarity between objects used to discover and nurture and those used to destroy and capitalize. Keeping with the language of science and its development, I see this work as a mechanism to evaluate conflict as the direct result of two kinds of perennial human activities: misunderstanding – willful or otherwise – and the heroic yet flawed effort to understand through research and classification. The outcome is a collection of objects in scenes that are sometimes copies of one another and other times distillations and hybrids of each other.

This series of work and the never-ending solution in it is a stream of calibrations that allow me to negotiate my understanding and acceptance of our twenty-first century.

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