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Exhibitions: Past


Works by David Shapleigh & Rob Lorenson

October 29 – December 11, 2009

Colossus Colossus Colossus Colossus Colossus Colossus Colossus Colossus Colossus Colossus

Is there more power inherent in objects when they are larger than life? Or is the power derived merely from an association of the object with human ideals of strength, tenacity, and complexity? As humans we are constantly comparing the world and the objects we encounter in relation to our physical presence. This relative, associative tendency is but one of the ways we measure and understand the things around us. The familiar, once it is magnified, is no longer something we can see as equal to us, but something that becomes more powerful. Perhaps that is why 1950s horror movies often scared us because often in them spiders or ants take on gigantic proportions and wreak havoc upon us all.

The title of this exhibition, Colossus, is fitting in that each of the works represented here are rendered in a large scale. And aptly enough, the works are also displayed inside a very spacious exhibition hall. In this context? Big works in a big room? The works may actually feel smaller than if they were viewed in a much smaller environment. This exhibition looks at the works by two artists David Shapleigh and Rob Lorenson, each displaying works that are larger than life. Shapleigh's series of self portraits, head shots of himself in 360, place the viewer at the center of the gallery, both as gazer and gazed upon.br />
Although he makes works that are often based on direct observation, his aims are not be defined as a realist. Rob Lorenson, takes geometric shapes and linear elements and makes them into elegant, finely crafted forms that are simultaneously organic and industrial. Both artists take a modernist approach to their work. Each approach their work with similar objective concerns, such as form, composition, materiality, and each ask us to consider the results on their own terms.

Kathleen Hancock

The Artists

David Shapleigh

One of my aims in my work is to represent the truth about the object I am recreating. While some of the images and objects I create are not real, the work is created from direct observation. I do not consider myself a "Realist" as it is often described or portrayed, but as an artist that is committed to the exploration of my visual perception through drawing and painting in the fullest plastic meaning of these terms. Furthermore, I choose to experiment with my ideas on creating art or my ideas about an object by interacting with it through different media, and then repeatedly do it in different ways, allowing the idea to develop and not settle on a particular outcome. The subject matter that allows this process to develop is the people and the objects in my immediate environment. When creating this work, I do not wish to portray my emotions.

Representing the truth about the object I am recreating forces me to be as objective as possible about this object or subject. Working in this manner will encourage the viewer of the piece of work to do the same. I want the viewer to look with his eyes and not allow his stored visual references or prior information to interfere with this viewing process. Although the work is accessible as a recognizable shape to the viewer, it is not readily or easily processed. I would like the viewer to respond to how the image was created as much as I would like him to react visually to the object being pictured. The material application or the composition may not allow the viewer to relate to the picture in the familiar way that he expects. Consequently, he must relate the best he can with the image. While the application of the material is not transparent or neutral, it is not apparent to the viewer at first.

Rob Lorenson

The elements of my work exist in suspended animation. They are situated as though to freeze a moment in time in which they exist effortlessly in space. The work is constructed of sturdy permanent materials that allow this to happen but yet is in contradiction to the impermanent sense of the composition. The forms have boldness and exactness that are inspired by martial arts such as Kendo where the grace and precision are practiced until they are effortless.


David Shapleigh is currently Assistant Professor of Arts at Westfield State College, Westfield, Massachusetts. He holds an MFA from Boston University, Boston, MA and while there received the Constantin Alajalov Award. His BFA is University of Massachusetts North Dartmouth, N. Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Solo Exhibitions include Wallace L. Anderson Gallery, New Work 2008, Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Selected group exhibitions include On Paper I / PNE at The Bushnell, 2008, Hartford, Connecticut, Curator: Jim Lee; Boston City Hall, Scully Square Gallery, Works on Paper, 2007, Boston, Massachusetts; Galley X, New Works 2007; 2007, New Bedford, Massachusetts, Curator: Roger Kizik; and Energy Gallery, 2- d ? 3-d, 2006, Toronto, Canada.

Rob Lorenson is Assistant Professor of Art/Sculpture at Bridegewater State College and has taught at Northern Illinois University, Harper College in Palatine, Illinois and at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois. He holds a BFA from University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa and an MFA from Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Illinois. Internationally recognized, Lorenson's work can be found at sites around the world.