In Gallery 1, Stan Shellabarger, a performance artist known for his 12-hour long walks made in celebration of Equinoxes and Solstices, will show several printed objects and artist-book hybrids that are derived from his continued interest in issues relating to the body, the Earth and for devising alternative methods of drawing.
The centerpiece of the show is a long accordion-fold artist book, presented stretched out across a low-slung pedestal in the middle of the gallery, features a 6-color reductive woodcut made by Shellabarger’s repetitive pacing atop wooden panels while wearing special boots, with coarse grit sandpaper affixed to their soles. For his “Dragging Book”, another accordion-fold piece, Shellabarger hung 10 steel plates on a wall and while wearing sandpaper-covered gloves, dragged his hands across the plates while pacing parallel to the wall. He printed the plates like one would a drypoint, in red ink in an edition of 10, and affixed one of the steel plates on the cover of each book in the edition. Two colorful reduction woodcuts resemble welcome mats, where Shellabarger again created the image by stepping on the wooden substrate with sandpaper-covered boots. Western Exhibitions will also show two framed black-and-white documentary-style photographs from Shellabarger’s first walking performance -- he walked intermittently in a circular path for an entire year in 1993.
Shellabarger will also show a selection of new Walking Books, a body of work he introduced in his last show at Western Exhibitions in 2008, in which he marries his performance and book-making impulses by pacing on long sheets of rag paper with graphite-soled shoes. His footsteps create a luminous graphite/gray drawing that betrays the pattern of the surface trod upon. The verso side of the drawing simultaneously becomes a beautiful blind embossment of this same surface. He folds the paper accordion style and affixes the ends to waxed MDF panels that function as the covers of the book.
This is Stan Shellabarger’s third solo show at Western Exhibitions. Photographs from Stan Shellabarger’s first-ever walking performance, "One Year Circle, Easton, Maine" from 1993, were recently included in a group show at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC) in Nice, France, alongside performance luminaries Marina Abramovic, Vito Acconci, Chris Burden, Valie Export, Paul McCarthy, among others. His solo shows include a pine-needle installation at the Hyde Park Art Center in 2009, a 12 x 12 New Work/New Artists exhibition at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art in December 2005, collaborative shows with his husband Dutes Miller at Western Exhibitions in 2007 and 2010 and his 2004 solo show at Western Exhibitions was reviewed in Art in America, artforum.com and ArtUS. He second solo show with Western Exhibitions in September 2008 was discussed in the Chicago Tribune, New City, Art Letter, Flavorpill, and Artslant. Shellabarger lives and works in Chicago.