Saturday, January 26, 2008

Artist's Statement: Shauna Lee Lange


What work do I do? I am communicating, listening, and hoping to be heard. My visual art work encompasses artistry in ephemera assemblage, mixed media, and collage. Most of my work involves a growing and heavy use of paper, graphic images, and transitory written and printed matter. I love trade cards, bookmarks, greeting cards, letters, photographs, and old postcards which I use to assemble new images with new meanings. I like reusing found, discarded, or overlooked items. I have a keen interest in the public arts arena and outsider or visionary art. In 2006, I founded and now run a full service professional arts advisory firm within the metropolitan DC area. My professional arts concentration is in the area of art writing, art design, art consulting and art coaching. My personal goals and aspirations are ones of communication, exploration, and developing new motivations for the viewing audience.


I make decisions based on mood, color, and composition. I often collected pieces of mixed media, ephemera, collages, photographs, printed matter, and various papers for months on end. When an idea has solidified, I go searching for items previously put aside. I compile the items, figure out the design for the message I want to convey, and then I define the whole lot with intricate scissors and Xacto knifes. As life has holes, I am seeking not only to show a finished work, but to accept the space between individual components and to accentuate it; much as in life’s imperfections. I select materials based on texture, meaning, and color. My techniques are rough, experimental, and constantly changing. I try new adhesive methods, new windowing methods, and new incorporations of small accent items. Themes I focus on include matters of the heart; following one’s heart, listening to one’s inner voice, and being true to one’s self. Many works end up having a cultural, political, or social sub-message. Overall, I have learned to embrace the fact that I am a big systems thinker; a true analyst. I am always trying to make a whole out of the sum of parts; always trying to find larger meaning. I am constantly amazed at how subjects, people, and events intersect in unusual and unexpected ways.


Happy childhood memories involve art. As a young Girl Scout Brownie, I made Christmas card holders out of old Sears Catalogues. Or there was the time we spray painted elbow macaroni with gold and silver and adhered the pieces to a conical sphere to make decorative trees. Years later, a local community arts-mobile used to come by our street once a week. We learned how to make popsicle stick vases and yarned cat-eye decorations. A school experience solidified my interest in art when I learned how to make a coiled rug from yarn and rope. It was also around that time that we began cutting intricate paper ornaments with detailed sharp scissors. I loved art, lived for art class, and loved working with my hands.

Sadly, I didn’t plug into those memories until much later in life when I reached my early forties. My then college-aged daughter left to attend school in the big city. Suddenly alone in my empty-nest syndrome, I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out who I had become, who I had been, and what there was left to love outside of my art books. My current work grows out of these life experiences and the new experience of being a mom to a son born in 2007. I am still exploring how all the pieces come together - attempting to make sense out of the past and make a statement, a map of sorts, for a new future. I am challenged to find the medium, the artistic expression, or the venue for half a life lived without a dedicated focus on art. At times, the ideas feel like they are streaming river-fast as if some gate has been opened, yet I worry there isn’t enough time to realize them all! I am self-taught, I am emerging, and I want to meet others (figuratively and literally) through my art. Most importantly, I hope to meet myself.