Exhibition News

Ben Sheppard on show, May 2006.

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Published Monday, May 1, 2006

Two exhibitions open in Melbourne this month featuring the young Melbourne artist Benjamin Sheppard. Sheppard is an artist who focuses on the psychological effects of tracing the boundaries of memory, time and physical limitations in his work.

Sheppard, who recently exhibited Flags at the Next Wave Festival and Commonwealth Games, continues manipulation of shape and shadows in his new work, Shades of Now.

The artist’s statement for Shades of Now explains that:
Referencing the Neo-Classical painting by the great Jacque Louis David of The Death of Socrates, a triptych of real and suggested shadows brings to mind Platonic notions of the real whilst recalling the torment bound in the gestural pose of the figure passing Socrates his deadly cup of Hemlock! The use of such subject matter suggests notions of sacrifice and inner torment in a world too small to maintain the ignorant bliss of generations previous. Formally, the use of steel and cast shadows suggests an allegorical position of the human psyche itself.

This installation is an assemblage of silhouettes and shadows that depicts the way we view the tragedy of others. Inspired by a real life incident overseas and reminiscent of classical poses, Shades of Now opens at 24seven Art Space in Flinders Street, Melbourne, Wednesday May 3rd at 6pm.

His other works are featured in a group showing, entitled Pleasantries, which opens at 6.30pm Thursday, May 4th at the Alliance Gallery in St Kilda. Sheppard is also the curator of this exhibition and shares the exhibition space with works by Ross Coulter, Kellie Wells, and Matthew Shannon.

Ben Sheppard Kellie Wells

Pleasantries shows us how we shield ourselves from the perilous world of social interaction, where the tone of voice or the firmness of a handshake means everything. Through pastel drawings, intuitive video and form this installation is sure to stimulate your thoughts about what it means to be pleasant in a tolerant society.

Participating artists:

Ross Coulter is 34 and a practicing artist and photographer. Having been a reporter and segment producer on the ABC's Recovery program for two years, he has a long list of award winning credits both in Television production and the Visual Arts.

Kellie Wells has a previous degree in Political Science and Women's Studies from the University of Tasmania. At 34 Kellie has a wealth of experience in various industries, travel, indeed life and, along side her artistic career, tutors in Koori education at Deakin University.

Matthew Shannon was born in Australia, but grew up in the home of pleasantries, Oxford England. Since returning to Australia, the 23 year-old Victorian College of the Arts graduate has already exhibited in Melbourne's leading Artist Run Initiatives.

Benjamin Sheppard, also a recent VCA graduate, has travelled extensively around Europe and the Asian Sub-Continent. At 29, his artistic practice is as varied as his experience. With a concurrent show at 24seven Art Space in May, this will be his first exhibition as both a participating artist and curator.

Shades of Now at 24seven Art Space, 32 - 44 Flinders Street, Melbourne, May 3rd until the end of May;
Pleasantries at Alliance Francaise, 17 Robe Street, St Kilda, May 4th until June 3rd.

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