Feb 202012
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Close to 18 months ago, my mum came to my Manchester street studio in Christchurch to see the work that I was about to have delivered to the Christchurch Art Gallery (www.christchurchartgallery.org.nz) for the group show Uncanny Valley, curated by Jennifer Hay. She stopped in front of the works that I had selected and considered them carefully before she spoke:
“Shannon. Don’t you think you should finish them beforethey go to the gallery?”
Of course I felt that they were complete and so was unprepared for her question.  I couldn’t quite justify, on the spot, why all three works did have that unfinished quality about them, or what I felt this method was supposed to achieve. I’d never analysed it. I had always just done what the work ‘asked’ me to do. I guess they’d never asked me to colour in all the spaces contained by lines.
When considering this image from a 2011 work Hostess, I feel the role of ‘incompleteness’ serves to parallel the essence of the subject that moves me to make work.  That subject is the dual awkward and sensual nature of physical experience as filtered through the body. Or at least the confluence of beauty and grotesquery embedded in our fleshy presence. When I think of ways to capture a moment, a sensation or experience of this bodily nature, I realise quickly that any attempt to pin-point or preserve such intangible moments is impossible, because the nature of sensation-based experience is fleeting, fragmented, uncertain and open ended.  Each sensation quickly dissolves at its edges to reveal a skeleton of itself, which in turn is used as the scaffold upon which a new moment fleshes itself out, and the process repeats.
If I’m ever to finish pictures that speak to this condition, I must embrace and utilise incompleteness as a compositional tool, a formal property and conceptual premise.
The end.
To read more about the concepts behind my recent work and see more images, please visit http://www.articulate.org.nz/ARTiculate_gallery.php  or www.skellyart.net
For any other enquiries please contact my Christchurch New Zealand dealer Brooke Gifford Gallery (http://www.brookegiffordgallery.co.nz/)

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  3 Responses to “Against Completeness – Shannon Williamson”

  1. I think that in many ways your work here is more complete than if it was rendered in full detail. We exist in a four, at least, dimentional world . Time being a very important one. We perceive things differently again adding an emotional dimention to it. So to represent something in only 2 dimentions it is neccessary to strip out some detail to allow the complete picture to come through. Tim

  2. A very warm welcome Shannon. It’s great to see our website welcoming artists working in other media, I like this progression. I’ve looked at the links you’ve given and enjoyed what I saw. It’s fired a few creative buttons for me so thanks for your talent and insights you have brought to this group.

  3. I keep returning to your page here, Shannon, and every time I see something new. There are so many layers. I don’t see it all at once. I’ll keep returning – there’s more here for me yet. Thank you.

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