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Michael Shaughnessy
gathered, bound and woven
​HAND WORK

For many years my work has involved the sculptural use of hay. As a grass it is a material that is familiar and accessible. It is used across cultures and it carries a depth of history and associations. It is seasonally based and regenerative.

Formally, my works embrace multiple aesthetic sensibilities ranging from minimalism to intuitive abstraction. It is highly social with a strong populist concern. It  values artisanship and common and collaborative labor. By virtue of its material, its handling and forms  It resonates with social/political and environmental associations and concerns.

My work employs two fundamental processes; binding the hay with twine and weaving hay through a twine warp over a built structure. They are simple processes that can respond to the potentials of each exhibition. Like the hay itself it grows relative to it’s locale and the specifics of its site and circumstance of the exhibition. These circumstances may range from the physical space to the skills interests and abilities of those I am working with. 

Many of these works are monumentally scaled and by virtue of such, temporary. Because of the physicality and scent they are both directly seen and peripherally experienced. They are at once object and place.

There is a strong social element to their making. It embraces the event of its creation and over the years many have been involved in their construction. Those involved have impacted the outcomes profoundly and as such are very connected to the works themselves. Some have changed the very nature of the work itself and at times how I see myself in it .

While temporary these works are prone for rebirth and regeneration. As a material they will last as long as they are cared for. As a form they are made permanent by memory or their reconstruction and renewal.

While they are simply designed, developed, and made I do feel they carry a sense of resonance in how they reside and in that a quiet wisdom.

~ Michael Shaughnessy, 2011