creative research gallery and drawing center
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Manifest Artist in Residence

Shelby Shadwell

Shelby Shadwell is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Wyoming. Born and raised in Springfield, Missouri, Shelby spent most of his years in the Midwest. In 2003 he received his BFA from Washington University School of Fine Art in St. Louis, where he studied printmaking and drawing as a Kenneth E. Hudson Scholar. He accepted a fellowship to attend Southern Illinois University Carbondale and went on to graduate with an MFA studying printmaking and drawing in 2006.      

A two-time recipient of the Visual Arts Fellowship from the Wyoming Arts Council, Shelby actively exhibits across the nation. He received the First Place Award in the International Drawing Annual 9 from the Manifest Creative Research Gallery and Drawing Center in Cincinnatti, Ohio where he also had a solo show in February 2013, and he is included in a total of five INDA publications. He was awarded a solo exhibition in the APEX Space at the Portland Art Museum in OR in 2016, and his work is included in their permanent collection. Coming up, Shelby has a solo exhibition scheduled at the South Bend Museum of Art in the spring of 2021 and a research sabbatical scheduled to begin in the fall of 2021 (which he is spending at Manifest as an artist in residence).           

Artist's Statement:

Creative Statement – VISCERAL

"I am making drawings of gut piles from game animals such as pronghorn, deer, and elk. The work is a natural progression from previous creative research exploring personal and collective fears/anxieties. An impetus for depicting these subjects is my interest in the ethical implications involved around the act of hunting and in the consumption of animals more generally. My aim is to be visually poetic, drawing attention to conflicts in the human condition and asking viewers to question preconceived notions on all sides of these and adjacent issues.       

I continue to examine ideas of low and high status in artistic subject matter as well as normative experience. These drawings may illicit feelings of disgust or revulsion and awe or ecstasy simultaneously due to the contrast between the vulgarity of the imagery juxtaposed with its meticulous rendering resulting in a kind of reverse sublimity. There is a connection between the works'’ form and content in terms of fragility. Charcoal, made of once living things, is a tenuous medium at best, prone to structural decay over time, while animal viscera, left in the field, is absorbed back into the ecosystem almost overnight. Both are deeply ephemeral concepts in relation to life, death, and the precariousness of existence. I am also challenging tropes in western art more broadly by depicting these animals from the inside out as opposed to the idealized versions one sees in most portrayals through history. Instead of documenting the hunt through a traditionally posed picture, I choose to display more ignored aspects of the animals’ bodies in a symbolic attempt to let as little as possible go to waste.       

Creative Statement - Untitled / AUNIVERSAL PICTURE       

"In these large-scale drawings, I am formally exploring the visual tensions between representation and abstraction, as my observed subjects, masses of black plastic trash bags, piles of cockroaches and sculptures of diapers invoke the sensibility of a Rorschach test for viewers to contemplate. On a conceptual level, it cannot be denied that these subjects also have in common connotations of disposability, decay and, most notably, repulsion, especially for me, as they are manifestations of personal fears and anxieties. The drawings themselves are meticulously rendered to convey the opposite, to be objects that are sumptuous and attractive for the audience, and the act of rendering those things in such scale and detail is a form of individual catharsis. The inherent contrasts between light / dark, representation / abstraction, and attraction / repulsion may call into question what we value in art and in a broader cultural context. I believe that my work fits into the ongoing dialogue that elevates the mundane, the ephemeral or the vulgar to a higher status thereby reflecting parts of society that we often refuse to acknowledge in the mirror of traditional norms.        

Observational drawing is a very direct way to have this conversation with the viewer with additive and subtractive methods of applying charcoal and other abrasive materials on paper and other substrates being the most economical and meditative process for me. The title for most of this body of work, AUNIVERSAL PICTURE, comes from my only slightly tangential interest in horror films, Universal Studios being one of the more prominent institutions that shaped the modern monster media landscape. The figures in my work are an attempt to both create and destroy what is monstrous to me."

The images pictured at right are a sampling of those submitted with Shelby's application.

As Manifest Artist in Residence Shelby will be based out of our MAR West Studio at the Gallery on Woodburn Avenue.

See more and learn about Shelby's work here:


Information on how to apply for future SIR or MAR awards can be found here.



application artwork

application artwork



application artwork

application artwork









 Josephine S. Russell
Charitable Trust

Manifest is supported by sustainability funding from the Ohio Arts Council, and through the generous direct contributions of individual supporters and private foundations who care deeply about Manifest's mission for the visual arts.

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