On Oct. 5 through Oct. 30, “Perceptions,” an art exhibit by MC alumni Brandon Shinn ‘08 and Elizabeth Smith Shinn ‘04, was on display in the Blackberry Farm and William “Ed” Harmon Galleries with a reception on Oct. 30 as a part of the Last Friday Art Walk. The collections used two different mediums and had two different meanings to portray.
Brandon Shinn’s photography collection focuses on urban decay through objects and places that may not normally be considered beautiful. The photographs are mostly in black and white with a few in color.
Brandon Shinn’s collection sets out to challenge people to think about what makes a place beautiful. He photographed graffiti, old and decaying buildings, etc. The photographs of the graffiti stuck out to me because I think graffiti can be very artistic and beautiful, so to see it photographed in a way that intended to bring out that beauty was interesting to see.
The black and white of the photos causes you to actually look at the subject of the photograph, which for many of the subjects is something that is not normally done. There is no color to distract from what is in the photo. For me, the black and white also reminded me that the spaces in the photos were not places that are considered traditionally beautiful, but yet the photograph focuses on them in a way that gives them a new life.
Elizabeth Smith Shinn used the medium of encaustic which, as she explains in her artist’s statement, is a technique where the artist melts wax and adds pigment, and creates interesting textures and colors.
Smith Shinn’s original inspiration for the paintings was commercialism and upcycling, but as she began to paint her focus quickly shifted. The inspiration for the collection of paintings became color and texture. The colors of the paintings were beautiful and the way the colors merged into one another was very interesting.
Smith Shinn explained that painting for her is about “letting the paint and the medium do what it wants to do and understanding that the rules and the chemistry are part of that, so you have ‘happy accidents,’ but you have to know where it is leading too.”