Devlin Shea


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Year 2021
Medium Watercolour on paper
Dimensions 23 x 15 cm

About the work

As I take a walk with my 1 year old, we pause to pick up leaves, she touches the textures and begins to form simple words. One month after putting my mother into a care home, we have put my daughter into nursery; they both screamed and tried to escape while 'settling in'. Things will calm, smaller things will grow bigger, things will fade and there will be more space to see what has germinated in this unusual period.

This drawing is both melancholic and comforting. The space between death and growth. The pause at a junction, quietly stormy and elemental.

About the artist:

Born 1976 New York, Devlin Shea lives and works in Leek. Graduated from MFA Painting, The Slade School of Fine Art, UCL (2016); and BFA Painting and Video, Alfred University, New York (1998).

Emotional honesty is important for Shea – at times murky, confusing, and contradictory; every so often, it is simple and clear. Her marks play on surface and texture in a similar way, ink on plastic, oil on linen, torn collage. The surface – her landscape, living in it – the gesture.

The landscape this year is dislocation, death, motherhood, dementia, relocation. As for many, things have been stripped down, lacking predictability. Her practice has become diminutive, watercolor, paper and ink during her daughter’s daily naps. The large, crowded paintings from 2019 now seem claustrophobic, yet exciting, when viewed through the lens of Covid times.

Selected solo exhibitions include Getting Closer, Drawing Room, London (2019); and Third Eye, Surplus Space, Wuhan (2018). Selected group exhibitions include Billboard Takeover, Ellipsis Prints, London (2020); EveryThing Must Go!, Assembly Point, London (2019); Her Prints, The Koppel Project Central, London (2019); The World As Yet Unseen, Falmouth Art Gallery (2019); Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2017, Block 336, London and Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2017-2018); These Rotten Words, Chapter Arts Center, Cardiff (2017); All Day Breakfast, Reading International, Munchees, Reading (2017); Hands On, Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong (2017); FBA Futures, Mall Galleries, London (2017); On Drawing: Apperceive of Liberation, Wuhan Art Museum (2016); Exeter Contemporary Open 2016 Overall Award Winner, Exeter Phoenix, Exeter (2016); and Imagine, Londonewcastle Project Space, London (2015).

Awards and residencies include Annotations 5, Outset Study at Drawing Room, London (2019); and Artist-in-Residence, Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University (2017-2018).

← Raqib Shaw

Lockdown Bliss 2020

Adam Shield →


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