Texas; embroidery on fabric; 2011
We’re ecstatic to announce our newest future Frontier Fellow, Shawn Creeden! Creeden is currently living and working as an artist in Portland, Oregon, but he originally hails from Rhode Island. He plans to join us in Green River in October for four weeks! Creeden’s work is primarily in sculpture and embroidery focused on issues of the logic of boundaries, the Frontier, and native wildlife.
War Bridle, First Form; rope, leather; 2011
“Kill off the sacred bear. Kill off the ancestral crocodile. Kill off the myth-wrapped tiger. Kill off the lion. You haven’t conquered a people, or their place, until you’ve exterminated their resident monsters.” - David Quammen, Monster Of God
La Matríz; Scent lure, wooden box; 2012
“Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent.” - Judge Holden, Blood Meridian
The characters that inhabit Cormac McCarthy’s novels live lives that are often brief and filled with deep loss and pain. They are endlessly coming to grips with the common tragedies that befall them and us all. And while McCarthy reflects the cruel indifference of the universe and it’s gods towards the plights of humans, he also demonstrates with visceral candor humanity’s never-ending crusade to subdue our natural environment and bend it to our collective will. It is this precarious duality of both the hapless victim and brutal annihilator that I am exploring in this work.
Of Things Disturbed That Had Been Sleeping installation view. Solo show at the Manuel Izquierdo Sculpture Gallery, Portland OR, 2012
This particular group of pieces are part of my investigation into the tools and techniques of control used by humans both over the landscape and the creatures that inhabit(ed) it during the period of Manifest Destiny and in the time since the settling of the America’s western frontier. What does it mean to impose a semi-arbitrary logic on an often featureless landscape (West Texas, The Great Plains, etc)? How does it feel to come face to face with the deceptively and cruelly simple apparatus used to control and dominate animals, both the ones we make use of and live with, and those we loath and seek to destroy? Can a looped length of ¾” rope really bring under control a wildly bucking feral mustang?
Untitled #1; Barbed Wire; 2012
Embroidery is a meditative activity for me. The pace and attention to detail gives me a new perspective and demands a longer consideration of a given subject than my relatively quick drawings (which speak more to a lifelong, severe attention deficit). It is an art form capable of many contrasts, employed throughout human history by both the rich and the poor, for both functional and decorative purposes, and is capable of stark simplicity and deep, rich intricacy. My sculptures represent a different facet of this same exploration. Forgotten relics, handcrafted and life-worn, with implied though often unknowable histories. These objects become proxies upon which we project our understanding of this bygone era.
The Artist & his traps
Apply for the Frontier Fellowship here.