Friday, 10 June 2016

Keith Shearsby Useful Things @ YouMe Gallery 1

Keith Shearsby Light Spade, 2015; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2016
Drafts of this series of three posts about Keith Shearsby's March 2016 exhibit at YouMe Gallery have been waiting patiently for me to add words for several months. Whenever I encounter artworks that strike me as profound, words escape me. So, I take my time and eventually something emerges. 

Two things struck me upon entering Shearsby's Useful Things exhibit: the artwork was both humorous and beautifully crafted. The objects invited viewers to take a long time looking at and thinking about them. 

Shearsby explores the idea of usefulness through his art objects. To quote his artist statement, the objects "almost work or have been improved so much that they can't work at all."
Keith Shearsby Light Spade detail, 2015; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2016
Light Spade was one of my favourite pieces, with its beautiful cast shadows. Can you imagine shovelling sand or trying to dig heavy clay with Light Spade?
Keith Shearsby Paint Hammer, 2016; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2016
Many of the objects had a beautiful patina that only the passage of time and use could impart. At the end of the exhibit, Shearsby "painted" part of the gallery with Paint Hammer. I wasn't there to witness it, but I imagine that it would have been quite the spectacle.
Keith Shearsby Ball, 2008; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2016
Gallery owner Bryce Kanbara told me that whenever Shearsby exhibits Ball in juried exhibitions, it wins awards. Displayed in the front window, it drew in viewers in who wouldn't ordinarily enter.
Keith Shearsby Litter Ball, 2014; Photo © Karen Thiessen, 2016
The imagination of the viewer completes each art object. Litter Ball rests loosely on a small cup-like structure set upon a plinth. The 'push' doors of litter bins are notoriously stiff. Try drying your hands with a paper towel and then stuffing the paper into this Litter Ball. Shearsby's exhibit has the potential of being comedic performance art with unwitting participants trying to use these Useful Things.

1 comment:

Judy Martin said...

thanks for sharing this artist's work.