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Large Shane Walsh painting in a large space

Exhibit Dates: September 14 – November 4
Exhibit Reception Date: Thursday, September 14  6 – 8 pm

Shane Walsh makes paintings that reference digital and analog forms of representation (Photoshop, commercial printing) and combines these with the signs and symbols of 20th century abstraction.

He begins by making small-scale collages constructed from photocopied images. These images of shapes and marks are made in response to the history of abstract painting, some are expressive, others graphic or digital. This approach allows him to treat the history of abstraction as a storehouse of moments to copy, paste, and sample from. This cutting, copying and pasting owes as much to punk and hip-hop show posters from his youth as it does to modernist collage traditions.
The photocopy also serves as an important metaphor in his work. As images are reproduced over and over they become altered and their visual qualities degraded. The photocopying process echoes how he thinks about abstraction in the way that our understanding of abstract painting becomes altered as it gets transmitted and reproduced through time and culture. Akin to the children’s game “telephone”, where the original message often emerges drastically altered and distorted by the time it arrives at the last participant. Walsh sees these distortions as something to celebrate and these paintings are his opportunity to playfully re-construct an image of abstraction that feels appropriate to his time and place.

Walsh is a Lecturer in Painting and Drawing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He received his BFA from MIAD and his MFA from the University of Washington in Seattle.