Author/Artist Name

Kaley ShackelfordFollow



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Academic Level at Time of Creation


Date of Creation

Spring 5-4-2021

Artist Statement

Ideas are like fish. You don't make the fish. You catch the fish. You have to convince them to come to you. You can catch ideas from daydreaming, or you can catch ideas from places. ~ David Lynch

We all participate in escapism in some form, and ever since I was a child, my vice was starring off into nothingness, dreaming of romanticized scenes, often landscapes loosely based on the familiar curving fields and dense, luxuriant woods of rural West Tennessee. This pastime has been a prime source for the ideas explored within my paintings, particularly the human relationship with our natural environment and both the positive and negative aspects of that interaction.

The stories told by the work are often autobiographical in some regard, unwilling — and perhaps unable — to disconnect my experiences, body, and feelings from the paint. Artists such as Elly Smallwood and Jennifer Presant who center around subjects such as the female form and elements of the natural world have influenced the paintings immensely. The works sometimes bend the traditional representation of space, rather using varying degrees of detail and paint thickness to draw emphasis to specific parts. These areas of thickness are sometimes built up with experimental materials, such as hair, dried paint scraps, and salt. The juxtaposition of these textured, sometimes grimy areas and the vibrant, rendered wilderness reinforce the strange, daydream-like quality of the work.

The paintings are always asking the viewer to insert themselves, to envision their dreams or reflect on their experiences within the landscape. There is often a quiet action in the midst of taking place – perhaps a flower being lain down or a dance amongst the trees – but the paint captures only one second in time, one still glance. Yet, you finish the action, you watch hands move and wind whistle through trees as the rest unfolds in your own imagination. A stark contrast presents itself between pure, blooming pieces of Nature and the filth or dull sterility both so accurately associated with modernity. These cold corners of reality come flooding in, if only as a reminder that, for now, this is where we are, and the rest is just paint.


Danielle Mužina, T. Michael Martin


This exhibit consists of 9 works of varying sizes, most of which are oil on canvas. Other mediums included are pen, golf leaf and terra-cotta. My work meditates on human relationship with the environment, and explores the escapism, enlightenment, and destruction that comes with such interactions. My paintings, specifically, utilize areas of thick, textured paint, remnants of bold underpaintings, and areas of softer, rendered detail. They are often reflective of my interest in the juxtaposition of hidden conflict and surface beauty.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

Kaley Shackelford ART 399 Portfolio



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