Shannon Wright

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Shannon Wright, Feral Fence, 2007, zinc-plated steel pipe, galvanized steel pipe, chain-link fencing, hardware, barbed wire. 12' x 80'x 30"
artist statement:
Modernist utopias-turned-dystopias (the built and the never-built) have long fascinated me. In several of my pieces from the past twenty years I have aimed to create the impression of simplistic, institutionally-issued "solutions" to contemporary problems. In some cases, I intend for these solutions to now appear to be relics or ruins–poorly-conceived projects, now abandoned. With the piece called Feral Fence (2007) I hoped to suggest that this ubiquitous separator of public space and private property had been neglected–and had perhaps been irrelevant–for so long that it had reverted to a "state of nature."
From 2007 to 2008 the 12-foot-tall, 80-foot-long fence was exhibited along the edge of a quarry in Vermont. In 2007 artist and critic Marc Awodey wrote, "California artist Shannon Wright’s “Feral Fence” is a 10-foot-tall chain-link fence made of pristine, gleaming steel... A jumble of Y-shaped barbed-wire fence-post caps are woven with three strands of prickly wire, as if to suggest the old quarry is a treasure not be trespassed on. Of course, it’s an absurd fence, and possibly a wry critique of some of the border schemes currently being discussed in Washington, D.C."
Ten years later, such a "border scheme"–a grotesque symbol of hubris and myopia–is on the brink of realization in the U.S. In this political climate Feral Fence offers a vision of a kind of "magical thinking," of a natural, gradual unraveling of an act of human aggression. - Shannon Wright
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Shannon Wright, Feral Fence, 2007 - reconfigured and rebuilt to be freestanding and indoors, December, 2017.
Installation view from Beyond Borders: Stories of im/Migration, curated by Gutfreund Cornett Art Edward M. Dowd Art Building, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California.

RECENT WORK : 2017

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Shannon Wright, Googolplex, acrylic, aluminum hardware, 17h x 14 1/2w x 9d in., 2017

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Shannon Wright, Valley, aluminum, aluminum spiral, acrylic, 23h x 19w x 3 1/2d in., 2017

Shannon Wright is a sculptor and installation artist based in San José, California. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Wright grew up chiefly in Sydney, Australia, and then spent her formative years as an artist among the iron trestle bridges and abandoned turn-of-the-last-century hydroelectric power plants and foundries of Richmond, Virginia. In the past decade, Wright has been creating her own "ruins" and monuments, in reaction to a society whose mercantile logic never ceases to disorient her. Wright puts forth fictitious products that might appear to have been government-issued or sold by Home Depot, and subsequently allowed to fall into a state of neglect. With these objects she mourns the erosion of regional cultural identities and the rise of big-box ubiquity.


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Wall (After Marfa), epoxy, brick, Dimensions variable, 2015
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Wall (After Marfa), epoxy, brick, Dimensions variable, 2015
Wall (After Marfa), 2015
The initial inspiration for this piece was the adobe wall surrounding Donald Judd’s house and studio in Marfa, Texas, which I visited in 2008. The wall’s adobe bricks have eroded far past the harder mortar. I sought to make a wall in which the bricks had completely eroded away, leaving only a lacework mortar structure. The piece continues my “Form and Content” series. What constitutes the content of a piece? Can the content be extracted from a form? I appreciate the absurdity of attempting to visualize where an object’s meaning resides. Maybe it’s embedded in each particle of the stuff that a thing is made of—or maybe it hovers like an aura over the entire object. I’m fascinated by Heidegger’s essay, “The Thing,” in which he considers what I interpret as the responsibilities of things: a jug “gathers” itself to the task of holding (and giving) water, while simultaneously the earth “bears” buildings. Does a brick wall fulfill its responsibilities as a wall once its bricks are gone? This line of questioning parallels my lifelong struggle to comprehend the idea of the egress of a "soul" from a body, or the evaporation of a consciousness.

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Folly (Colosseum of Rome), Galvanized steel pipe and fence hardware, 88” x 141” x 116”, 2014
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Folly (Colosseum of Rome), Galvanized steel pipe and fence hardware, 88” x 141” x 116”, 2014
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Folly (Colosseum of Rome) 1 Archival dye-infused print on aluminum 27.7” x 37.4” 2014
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Folly (Colosseum of Rome) 2 Archival dye-infused print on aluminum 27.7” x 37.4” 2014
Heroic Measures, 2014
I frequently use modules and grids in my work, largely for their associations with Modernism, utopian failures and economic utility, but also because of the undeniable allure of repetition and my longtime fascination with connective systems. I put forth fictitious "products" that might appear to have been government-issued or sold by Home Depot, and subsequently allowed to fall into a state of ruin. With these objects I mourn the erosion of regional cultural identities– an unfortunate side-effect of globalization– while hoping that my industrial parodies will project a poignant elegance of their own.
In a piece from 2014 entitled Folly (Colosseum of Rome), I used fifty-two galvanized steel pipe arches connected with fence hardware to suggest the iconic Roman structure while blurring the generic forms of bike rack, cattle pen and crowd barrier. In another piece, Flourish (Public Art), I poke fun at the notion that urban blight can be ameliorated through the addition of strategically placed curlicues. I worked with a chain-link fence company in San Jose to render a stock calligraphy flourish in clunky galvanized pipe, with the awkward "feet" and sandbag ballast associated with temporary fences.
In my Historic Preservationist (Heavy Equipment Tires) series, I re-interpreted four decorative traditions from around the globe into the visual language of huge earth-moving equipment tires that may soon facilitate their extinction. This series responds to the vast destruction of villages in contemporary China, and to the loss of the centuries-old traditions that relied on the societal structure of the village. Wrested from their original context, the historical patterns are reduced to mere logos or brand names.

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Flourish (Public Art), Galvanized steel pipe and hardware 65” x 96” x 20.5” 2014

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Flourish (Public Art), Galvanized steel pipe and hardware 65” x 96” x 20.5” 2014

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Horror Vacui, 30” x 20 x 8.5” Drawing paper, chipboard, wire binding, misc., 2014

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Application of a Theory, 17.25" x 17.25" x 1.25 Legal-ruled notebook paper, chipboard, aluminum binding coil, 2014

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Mechanical Reproduction Stamp (for frustrating wallpaper) cast urethane rubber, neoprene, bass wood, paint and hardware, 14” x 14” x 14”, 2012

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Mechanical Reproduction hand stamped latex paint using the sculpture, 2012

bio - resume

Education:
1992-94 Master of Fine Arts Degree in Time Arts, The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois

1986-90 Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Sculpture, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia


(Select) Solo Exhibitions:
2014
Shannon Wright: Heroic Measures. ADA Gallery, 228 W. Broad St, Richmond, VA, 23220
Shannon Wright: Heroic Measures. Mulherin + Pollard, 187 Chrystie St., New York, NY
2012
Shannon Wright: Mechanical Reproduction. Mulherin + Pollard, 187 Chrystie St., New York, NY
2007
J.J. Garfinkel; Eung Ho Park; Shannon Wright . ADA Gallery, Richmond, Virginia.
2004
Mechanical Disadvantage: Installations by Shannon Wright. Tahoe Gallery, Sierra Nevada College, Incline Village, Nevada
Air Drill, video installation. San José Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, California.
Once Removed: Sculpture and Animations by Shannon Wright. Virginia Commonwealth University, Fine Arts Building Gallery.
Shannon Wright: Sculpture and Projections, Garden Fresh Gallery, Chicago, IL.

(Select) Group and Juried Exhibitions
2018
(Upcoming, Jan 8-April 7, 2018 Beyond Borders: Stories of Im(migration) Santa Clara University, Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building Gallery, Curated by Gutfreund Cornett Art.
2015
Generator. Works on Paper by: Tim Sullivan, Irena Jurek, Arthur Pena, Jakob Boeskov, Tim Wilson, Shannon Wright, Alex Kvares, Barbara Weissberger, Derek Larson, Tom Condon, Bruce Wilhelm. ADA Gallery, Richmond, Virginia.
2013
Bay Area Currents: Navigating the New. Selections by Michael Schwager. Pro Arts Gallery, Oakland, CA
2012
Spatial Art and Digital Media Art Faculty Show, The Natalie and James ThompsonGallery, San Jose State University
2011
Mars Seeks Answers, Mulherin & Pollard Contemporary Art, New York, NY.
2010
Swan Boat made with Laura Baruel, featured in The Wedding of Opposites, a performance by Culturamobila, Fiskars, Finland
2009
Remote/ Control, Works Gallery, San Jose. Part of the SubZero art and technology festival.
2007
Nature and Transcendence, Carving Studio and Sculpture Center, West Rutland, Vermont. Curated by William Ramage.
2006
Frankenstein Theory and Robotics: A Survey of Robotics, Kinetic and New Media Art. Rx Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
Spatial Arts Faculty Exhibition, Thompson Gallery, School of Art and Design, San Jose State University.
Claim the World of Art as Our Domain, Selections by Michael Wilson, Artforum. Pro Arts Gallery, Oakland, California.
2005
New Visions: Introductions 2005, Pro Arts Gallery, Oakland, California. Juried by Catherine Clark and Jack Hanley.
2003
The Stray Show, Chicago, IL. My work was shown by Garden Fresh Gallery, Chicago.
Fall Exhibition, Selected Works by Faculty and Students of SJSU School of Art and Design. Heritage Bank, San Jose, California.