Blake Shirley show opens at Real Art Ways next Thursday
Real Art Ways
56 Arbor St., Hartford, (860) 232-1006
Blake Shirley: Skull Couch
Dec. 15, 2011—Feb. 12, 2012.
Opening reception during Creative Cocktail Hour: Thurs., Dec. 15, 6—8 p.m. Admission is $10/$5 Real Art Ways members.
Real Art Ways presents Skull Couch, an exhibition of large-scale paintings by Blake Shirley, who explores the disparate and fragmented nature of memory in contemporary society.
An opening reception on Thurs., Dec. 15, from 6—8 p.m. will be held as part of Creative Cocktail Hour, Real Art Ways' monthly third Thursday gathering. Creative Cocktail Hour is from 6—10 p.m.; admission is $10/$5 Real Art Ways members.
Shirley focuses on memories of everyday objects that the brain registers but doesn’t absorb. These unnoticed small details, in accumulation, define our perceptions of the physical world. How can we create meaning in a perpetually changing environment when we are constantly over-saturated with stimuli? Shirley states, “We all have filters that distort the way in which we perceive the world, of which we are mostly unaware. We simply cannot take it all in all the time.”
Shirley’s large-scale canvases depict carefully rendered objects that float in and out of geometric skulls, against a diffuse background of gestural strokes of color. They reside in a space between abstract and representational. He breaks up the spatial relationships between objects, between foreground and background. He plays with scale, creating a space that is both messy and chaotic. These paintings evoke the structure of memory, layered and fractured combining both moments of clarity and blurriness.
Blake Shirley is a painter and video artist currently living and teaching in eastern Connecticut. Traveling far from his roots in the deserts of New Mexico, Shirley earned his MFA in painting from the University of Connecticut in 2007 and a BFA from the University of Utah in 2005. Recent personal achievements include the honor of a full fellowship to study at the Vermont Studio Center, which he participated in during the month of June. Shirley also received a 2010 individual artist grant from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and was awarded acceptance into the Radius program at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum. His work has been exhibited in several solo shows in NY, MA, GA, and CT as well as several group exhibitions throughout the United States and abroad. His work is in collections at Poland's Akademia Sztuk Pieknych in Krakow Poland, and The London College of Art, School of Printing and Publishing. He currently teaches at the University of Connecticut.