The Gallery at Pioneer Bluffs

Kathleen Shanahan – Autumn 2016


October 1 – December 11, Opening Reception on October 1, 3pm -5pm

Kathleen Shanahan combines and composes evocative but often disparate images to create her own provocative narratives.  More accurately, her finished products are, as she says, “implied narratives.”

Taken independently, the objects, figures and gestures that make up Shanahan’s worlds suggest little by way of connectivity.  Indeed, the converse seems often to be the case: the relationship between these elements is one of unfamiliarity, discord, and randomness.

How then can they be read as narratives at all?  The “narrative arc” is generated instead by the technique.  Shanahan’s drawing and painting skills are evident in all her pieces.  Her dynamic yet controlled line and brushwork contain a source of energy and movement that pulses throughout the work.  This compositional and stylistic coherence is imposed on the seeming randomness of the visual signs.  But, does the resulting fugue of abstraction and representation suggest that there is some unknown thread of meaning and intentionality or are we to conclude that irrationality and randomness are simply the irreducible elements of our contemporary perspective?

Whatever the viewer’s interpretation, Shanahan’s work is feast of color and form.  Her comfort with various media feeds her ability to generate fresh visual imagery while returning to some of the same symbolic juxtapositions.  In her printmaking, she combines a dizzying number of diverse techniques, often in a single piece: relief, drypoint, monoprint, chine colle, etching, aquatint, collagraph and more.

Shanahan has taught in Arizona, Oregon and Missouri but the bulk of her academic career was at Wichita State University.  Her work is in the collections of the Wichita Art Museum, The Spencer Museum of Art, the Emprise Bank collection and others.  She lives and works in Wichita, KS.

Comments are closed.