Shawne Major

Shawne Major grew up in Louisiana and began her career as a painter. She studied for her MFA in sculpture at Rutgers University, and lived in New York City in the `90s. She has been making found object assemblage “tapestries” for over 15 years. Major’s exciting post-pop, found-object assemblage works were exhibited in the Prospect.1 New Orleans Biennial in 2008, curated by Dan Cameron. Her latest solo exhibition, “Tickle,” was on view at Heriard Cimino Gallery in New Orleans in May 2010. Upcoming solo exhibitions will be held at the Chicago Cultural Center and the Hilliard Museum of Art in Lafayette, LA in 2012.
Shawne Major has received grant awards from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and Joan Mitchell Foundation in 2008 and is represented by Irvine Contemporary in Washington, DC and Heriard/Cimino Gallery in New Orleans.

I am interested in how the perception of reality is colored by dreams, memory, superstition, religion, bias, prejudice, and fear. My mixed media work, in general, refers to the overlay of belief systems created by the individual to piece together their personal paradigm.

I choose particular materials for their visceral qualities, as well as their symbology and real world references. The power of the fetish object intrigues me. In addition, the methods by which disparate elements are connected are as integral as the objects themselves. Accumulation and collage serve as metaphors for the build-up, organization and processing of experience.

I am interested in how humans create their reality. I think about these works as screens that we create through which we perceive reality. These screens being made up of our belief systems, whether current or residual from growing up. Religious, political, ideological, cultural, emotional scars, repressed desires, anything we’ve accepted or reacted against leaves a mark on how we “screen” life.” The reason I’ve chosen to execute these ideas in objects instead of paint or wood, bronze or other virginal art material is that I think this psycho emotional stuff is messy and the detritus of real objects brings a richer and more appropriate vocabulary to the mix. I choose to sew these objects together in part because it is a visual connection, as opposed to gluing things together which could be concealed. It indicates the conscious being attempting to make sense of being conscious from all the memory, matter and debris we have to deal with.

I conceive of my art as skins and so the evolution from rectangular to shaped works was a natural progression. The base layer for most of my current pieces is clothing and in several cases wedding dresses. I was imagining that all of a person’s expectations, experiences, happiness, pain, and belief systems could leave a residue on the skin that you could see if you knew how to look. All possibilities would leave their mark.

I like to create art that reads completely differently from a distance than close up. From a distance they are beautiful and abstract but when you are closer you might see things that you wouldn’t ordinarily associate with beauty but might evoke a visceral response- like doll hair and panty hose. The works are always intensely personal for me and work on several different levels. I like to believe that the viewer who spends time with them will be rewarded. Lots of hidden meanings are incorporated.