gathered, bound and woven
"Michael Shaughnessy's giant hay and twine wall piece sweeps up and into the space with an uncanny organic intelligence. It draws you in close with its deliciously sweet fragrance and pushes you back to try to see it as a whole. It even dares press an impossible question: Is it a sculpture, an installation, a drawing or something else? It might be the largest thing I could ever describe as exquisite,“
~ Daniel Kany, PPH
(Excerpt, Review of the Portland Museum of Art's 2011 Biennial)
The journey's prospective route will go from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon. It will roughly follow the route and spirit of John Steinbeck in his book “Travels with Charley: Searching for America”, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Steinbeck sought to re-acquaint himself with the nation and take the pulse of its people. I seek to bring a bit of wonder and delight to those I meet.
While simple delight is overarching and important for its own intrinsic value, the ability to take delight in the unknown and to embrace the idiosyncratic is a need equal to that of understanding and purpose. It is particularly so in times of stark conformity. To curiously stand out, to defy the norm and to do something for no apparent purpose is a healthy way of claiming identity. In our culture today, it is a gentle act of defiance.
For over 30 years I have been an installation artist primarily working with hay. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, I have been living in and around Portland, Maine since 1987 and am a Professor of Art at the University of Southern Maine.
Below are a few highlights of some of my work. On the left is a recent installation piece that won the Juror's Prize in the Portland, Maine Museum of Art's 2011 Biennial. And on the right is information about the Hay Ball Wonderment Project -- something a bit different than my usual work. It is a journey that melds public art, sculpture, performance, documentary photo and video, social analysis and the art of the roadside attraction. Explore the website to see more images of my installations, small and large pieces, drawings, prints and photographs. Read my blog and follow my upcoming Wonderment Journey with Hay Ball. Go to the store to contribute to the Wonderment Project, or (soon) to purchase prints or sculptures. And please contact me with any questions you might have.
~ Michael Shaughnessy