international drawing annual 9 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Shelby Shadwell
Laramie, Wyoming

University of Wyoming, Assistant Professor

detail image


In these large scale drawings, I am formally exploring the visual tensions between representation and abstraction, as my observed subject, masses of black plastic trash bags, piles of cockroaches and sculptures of diapers invoke the sensibility of a Rorschach test for viewers to contemplate.  On a conceptual level, it cannot be denied that these subjects also have in common connotations of disposability, decay and, most notably, repulsion.  The drawings themselves are meticulously rendered to convey the opposite, to be objects that are sumptuous and attractive for the audience.  The inherent contrasts between light / dark, representation / abstraction, and attraction / repulsion may call into question what we value in art and in a broader cultural context.  I believe that my work fits into the ongoing dialogue that elevates the mundane, the ephemeral or the vulgar to a higher status thereby reflecting parts of society that we often refuse to acknowledge in the mirror of traditional norms.  Observational drawing is a very direct way to have this conversation with the viewer with additive and reductive methods of applying charcoal and other abrasive materials on paper or prepared linen being the most economical and meditative process for me.  The title for this body of work, AUNIVERSAL PICTURE, comes from my only slightly tangential interest in horror films, Universal Studios being one of the more prominent institutions that shaped the modern monster media landscape.  


born: 1981, Springfield, Missouri


Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, MFA, 2006
Washington University, St. Louis, MO, BFA, 2003

selected awards/honors

Monetary Award of Excellence, 26th Annual Northern National Art Competition, 2013
Unrestricted Monetary Award, Dave Bown Projects 6th Semiannual Competition, 2013
Extraordinary Merit in Research Award, University of Wyoming, 2012
Visual Arts Fellowship, Wyoming Arts Council, 2010

selected publications

AUNIVERSAL PICTURE – Shelby Shadwell / HIGH – Realism's Realism. Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center. Volume 69, 2013
International Drawing Annual 6, Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center. Cincinnatti, Ohio. Cover Image, 2011
International Drawing Annual 5, Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center. Cincinnatti, Ohio, 2010
SHAPED / PAUSE: Contemporary Still Life, Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center. Volume 40. 2009

selected solo or two-person exhibits

AUNIVERSAL PICTURE, Jackson Center for the Arts, Jackson, Wyoming, 2014
AUNIVERSAL PICTURE, threesquared, Nashville, Tennessee, 2013
AUNIVERSAL PICTURE, Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2013
True West, 222 Shelby Street Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2009

selected group shows

SHADES: Contemporary Drawing, John A. Day Gallery, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota, 2014
Defining Territory: Contemporary Drawing, Parkland Art Gallery, Parkland College, Champaigne, Illinois, 2013
GOLDMINES!, Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2012
Big Paper, 333 Montezuma Annex, Santa Fe, New Mexico

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