2015, ballpoint pen and resin on Ash
My work is concerned with landscape in its broadest and deepest sense. It’s about the world that stretches endlessly before us, offering the possibility to accept it either as an expanse of raw uninterrupted reality, or to idealize, embellish, and edit it as we see fit.
I grew up in the desert Southwest, ringed by a horizon interrupted occasionally by sandstone outcroppings. As a child I was visually taken by this sculpted topography, amazed when my father told me that the layered strata of rock had been fashioned by years of water and wind. My first creative interventions into this environment were crude: I pulverized sandstone blocks with a hammer, dug into cliff faces to excavate minerals, and dredged sand with magnets for iron dust that I cured into patties of iron oxide inside my father’s tobacco tins.
The physical sense of land and material has continued to guide my work, both as a symbol of process and as a source of content. I remain interested in how the incremental effects of time can create something more structured and unique than I might ever make with my own hands. My recent work merges competing formal languages: those things that look like nature, those that symbolize nature, and those which are nature. The form in this work is often analogous to the methods of its creation. The structures in them take root in the physical properties inherent within specific, mundane materials such as Elmer’s glue, correction fluid, ballpoint pen ink and plastic resin, whose limits are stretched by subjecting them to non-traditional applications. These applications generate complexity that belies the simplicity of their creation, and in the process unearths fundamental questions about what is natural and what is artificial.
Shane McAdams is a writer, curator, artist, and professor splitting his time between studios in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, and Brooklyn, New York. He is a three-time Creative Capital, Andy Warhol Writer’s Grant finalist, and his work has appeared regularly in the Brooklyn Rail since 2002. “Thoughts from Across the Cultural Divide,” his series of writings about bi-coastal commuting appeared regularly in Bad at Sports, and was a source of inspiration for the exhibition High/Low/Middle at the Museum of Wisconsin Art. He is currently a contributor at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and a curatorial advisor at the Selma Sadoff Center for the Arts. His artwork has been exhibited at Allegra LaViola Gallery, Marlborough, Chelsea, Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Storefront, Bushwick, Scream London, among others, and has been reviewed in Vogue Magazine, The New York Times, The New York Observer and The Village Voice. He has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and Marian University. His latest work, Splayed Oak, was on view at the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University before going to the Schneider.