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Shawna Gilmore

Vintage illusion and a village of interesting and transparent characters.

From Shawna Gilmore:

My paintings delight in narrative mysteries and surreal scenarios.  They are portals to another world where the viewer is free to escape, to daydream.  While sparking imagination, my work encourages alternative thinking. Occasionally, my paintings provide an undervalued attribute in the art world -- amusement.  


Over the past few years I have been exploring chameleonic behavior in my work.  In these pieces, the character’s clothes become transparent, absorbing the characteristics or patterns of their surroundings.  Some of my characters are more challenging to discern.  Other characters are more obvious.  The chameleonic attributes of these people represent ideas of mindfulness, consciousness and awareness of place.  Some of the pieces reflect a more personal struggle of hankering to hide.  Other pieces explore desires to fit in.  Observing my young teenagers wrestle over who they are, wanting to both blend in and stand out simultaneously stirs up this struggle even more in my work. We have all grappled with the desire of becoming part of something without completely losing one’s self.

My work sometimes bridges both interior and exterior elements creating an entirely surreal world, which can be traced to my love of fantasy and science fiction.  In the early stages of this series, I developed a fascination with vintage wallpaper and fabric that continues to inspire much of the pattern play in these works.  My images are also heavily influenced by the style and characteristics of vintage photography which provide a sense of history, nostalgia and timelessness.

Born and raised in the Upper Midwest, Shawna draws deep from the winter-forged well of her overactive imagination. Her narrative, vintage-infused paintings explore many topics such as childhood, animals, nature, patterns,  humor,  metaphors, space, paradoxes, and fairytales.  Shawna graduated in 2000 from the University of Minnesota-Duluth with a BFA in Studio Art, Emphasis on Drawing and Printmaking.  She has exhibited both locally and nationally. Her work is part of private collections world wide.  Shawna lives with her verbally talented husband (Eddy), their twins and a menagerie of critters in a lively neighborhood near lovely Lake Superior.

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