Into the Land of Spectres is a series of large-scale drawings exploring specters and shrouds. The series grew from sustained viewing of seasonally tended shrubs and bushes within the New England landscape where I live. As branches and leaves peek out from the weathered nets and cold-frames, my drawings pose the following questions: Is nature escaping from or being protected by humans? Are these coverings protecting or constraining fragile life? Can these looming spectral forms be seen as metaphors for human nurture and care?
Executed in silverpoint on large scale sheets of stone-paper, the faint ghostly material itself adds to the mystery of the forms as do the large expanses of negative space, bringing solitude and quiet to the images. This body of work is influenced by the atmospheric perspective of the spare, poetic Edo-period paintings of Kano Tan’yu.
It is the first time the work will be shown in Oklahoma, the location of which will add to the dislocation and displacement suggested by the work.
—Shona Macdonald, February 2019
About the Artist
Shona Macdonald received her MFA in 1996 in studio arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her BFA in 1992 from Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. She has had selected solo shows at the Brattleboro Art Museum, (2018), NYPOP, New York, NY, (2017), Tarble Arts Center, Charleston, IL, (2015), Gridspace, Brooklyn, NY, (2014), Ebersmoore, Chicago, IL, (2012), the Roswell Art Museum, Roswell, NM, (2011), Engine Room, Wellington, New Zealand, (2010), Proof Gallery, Boston, MA (2009), Reeves Contemporary, NY, NY (2008), Den Contemporary, LA, CA, (2007), Skestos-Gabriele, Chicago IL, (2005), Galerie Refugium, Berlin, Germany, (2002), and Fassbender Gallery, Chicago, IL (1998 and 2000). Her work has been included in numerous group shows across the US, UK, Australia, and Canada. Reviews of her work are included in Art in America, Art News, the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Sacramento Bee, Boston Globe, Art-scope, and New American Paintings. She has been a Visiting Artist at over fifty institutions, including Vermont Studio Center, (2016), Wimbledon College of Art, London, (1998), Georgia State University, Atlanta, (2007), Cornell University (2006), the University of Alberta, and the University of Calgary, Canada, (2002). Shona Macdonald was the recipient of a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, NY, (2009), a Fellow at Ballinglen Foundation, Ireland, (2018), Roswell Artist-in-Residence, Roswell, New Mexico, (2010-11), Can Serrat, Barcelona, Spain, (2012), and Tyrone Guthrie Center, Ireland (2004). Macdonald has also curated and written about art. Her exhibitions in the role of curator include, ‘Unearth,’ The Painting Center, NY, NY, ‘System Preferences’ at SCA Contemporary, Albuquerque, NM, ‘A Certain Slant of Light,’ at the Riverside Arts Center, Riverside, IL and The Drawing Project, ArtExpo, Chicago, 2004 and 2005. She currently serves as Professor and Chair of Studio Art at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and formerly, was Associate Professor of Art at Illinois State University, where she taught from 1998 until 2006.
Image credit: Ghosts, Silverpoint and graphite on terraskin, 39″ x 68” in.