Intrigued by the talent surrounding her as a child, Shelley Caldwell has engaged with the arts from a very young age. Studying liberal arts and graduating with honors, Caldwell received her Associate of Arts degree from Ridgewater College of Hutchinson, MN in 2012. She then continued her studies at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MNSU), where she earned an art department scholarship and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (concentrating on drawing and painting) in 2015. She was awarded a teaching fellowship for her pursuit of a Master of Arts degree at MSU Mankato where she focused on installation and drawing, graduating in 2017. Regularly participating in group and juried shows, Caldwell’s work has also been featured in six solo exhibitions. She has shown work both on the MNSU campus and throughout the greater Minnesota community in venues such as the 410 Project, Emy Frentz Gallery, Carnegie Art Center, The Grand Center for Arts & Culture, and others. Surrounded by the landscape which inspires her most, she presently works from her family farm in rural Faribault County.
An affinity for nature rooted in memories and values serves as the point of departure for my work. The prominence of embellishment, pattern, and repetition found in ordinary objects also plays a strong hand in influencing the work’s aesthetic qualities.
Ideas stem from a specific image or item from personal experience, which is then stylized through the application of pattern and repetition to increase recognition. As with nature, dualities within the work result from a combination of styles and processes; spontaneous mark-making alongside precise control, muted tones in conversation with bright colors of various saturations, and graphic shapes among an abundance of natural references. A variety of media are implemented to produce the sharp, clean lines that are fundamental to achieving the desired aesthetic. Common, repurposed, economically accumulated materials are used as primary surfaces, enriching the work’s dialogue. Not only releasing drawings from the wall and gaining a dimension, installations provide an immersive sensory experience, allowing the audience to move around and within the work, affording both space and time for contemplation.
From natural laws to mundane items, many factors of human existence are casually overlooked despite the control they exert; I am driven by the desire to make apparent that which is disregarded. Through a combined practice of mixed media drawing and installation, these themes converge.