As the eye falls upon desirable material objects, the mind enters into a haptic process of touching the form from a distance, becoming a willing participant in the process of seduction, and generating a kind of understanding of the object as culturally predetermined. As human life is lived within the construct of various, layered communities, so is human understanding of the world experienced as a set of agreed upon rules and interpretations. I seek to disrupt and manipulate this intersubjective foundation of experience in order to draw attention to the process of meaning-making as it relates to contemporary material culture.
Much of my work is focused on the challenge of creating both a critical distance for the viewer of discarded, mass-produced objects I use in the work, while simultaneously drawing from, and building upon the extreme sensuality and allure of these objects. The intent is to remove the viewer from metaphorical and representational systems of thinking. I integrate multiple closed forms (usually second-hand, contemporary home décor items) into larger, open, layered, configurations. I place the resulting forms within a theatrical context that prompts a self-guided process of meaning-making in the viewer. The somewhat uncanny sensation of these reconfigured, less representational forms is intended to generate a sense of suspicion or disbelief of the form’s representational power.
In accomplishing these artistic goals, the viewer becomes a mandatory part of the work in that the actual artwork occurs where the art object and viewer intersect. My central method is that of collapsing reverence for these objects by indulging in them, heightening their effect. I personally experience their seductive characteristics, as I undertake an organic, adductive/reductive process in order to rearrange the objects into highly provocative forms. The resulting work accesses a form of visual communication akin to pseudo-science, mysticism, mythology, and other psychological phenomena. I wish to trigger a sort of cognitive equilibrium in the viewer where belief and non-belief are forever suspended.
Shyra De Souza is an interdisciplinary artist based in Calgary. She attended the Sculpture department at the Alberta College of Art & Design where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts with distinction in 2006. As well as maintaining an artistic studio practice, she has undertaken several volunteer administration and board roles within the arts community, has been awarded a number of grants and residencies, and has exhibited her work in Canada and the United States.
Education & Residencies
2012 St[art] Residency, Calgary Allied Arts Foundation, Art Central, Calgary, AB.
2011 Banff Artist In Residence (BAIR), Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, AB.
2009 Creative Self-Directed Residency, Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, AB.
2006 Bachelor of Fine Arts with Distinction, Sculpture, Alberta College of Art and Design, Calgary, AB.
2005 Work practicum – Stride Gallery, Calgary, AB.
2012 Calgary 2012 Grassroots Inspired Grants, Calgary 2012, Calgary, AB
2011 Finishing Funds Recipient, Emmedia Gallery and Production Society, Calgary, AB
Visual Arts & New Media Training & Career Development Grant, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Edmonton, AB.
Film and Video Production Grant, Canada Council for the Arts (Alberta Creative Development Initiative), Ottawa, ON.
2009-10 Production Scholarship Award, Quickdraw Animation Society, Calgary, AB.
2009 Film and Video Career Development and Training Grant, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Edmonton AB.
2005 Jason Lang Scholarship, Alberta Heritage Scholarship Fund, Edmonton, AB.
2004 Jason Lang Scholarship, Alberta Heritage Scholarship Fund, Edmonton, AB.
2003 Jason Lang Scholarship, Alberta Heritage Scholarship Fund, Edmonton, AB.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2014 Labyrinth of the Eternal Archetype, Visual Arts Alberta Gallery, Edmonton, AB.
2013 Longshadow, Stride Gallery, Calgary, AB.
2012 Phantom Limb, The Ledge, EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts, Calgary, AB.
2011 Labyrinth of the Eternal Archetype, The New Gallery, Plus15 Project Space, Calgary, AB.
2010 Façade, POST Exhibit, Art Central, Calgary, AB.
2008 Holiday Haiku, Throw Away Gallery, Calgary, AB.Arcanum,
Patch Project, Truck Contemporary Art, Calgary, AB.
2005 Ethos and Pathos, Marion Nicoll Gallery Plus15 Window Space, Calgary, AB.
Selected Group Exhibitions
2013 Art Souterrain 2013, Art Souterrain, Montreal, QC.
2011 Work in Progress, The Other Gallery, The Banff Centre, Banff, AB.
Calgary Media Arts Party AMAAS Fundraiser, 1st Calgary Legion, Calgary, AB.
Swarm, Elephant Artist Relief Fundraiser, Arrata Opera Centre, Calgary, AB.
Ecosystems, UAS Satellite Gallery, Calgary, AB.
Interpose, Digital Graffiti Festival, Alys Beach, Panama City Beach, FL.
2010 Light Proof: A Darkroom Photo Show, Untitled Art Society, Calgary, AB.
Birthday Blowout, The Sugar Shack, Calgary, AB.
Tip Your Hat, This Is My City Fundraiser, Stephen Avenue Mall, Calgary, AB.
Gender Blender, The Sugar Shack, Calgary, AB.
DioramaRama, The Sugar Shack, Calgary, AB.
2009 Spawn, Elephant Artist Relief Fundraiser, Arrata Opera Centre, Calgary, AB.
Red Versus Green, Without Borders VI: Conjunction, University of Maine, Orono, ME.
Arcanum, Eyelevel Gallery, 35 Days of Unorganized Art, Halifax, NS.
2008 Holiday Tree Show and Fundraiser, The New Gallery, Calgary, AB.
Monument, Virgin Music Festival, Calgary, AB.
Creature: a monster collaboration and gala, Elephant Artist Relief Fundraiser, Arrata Opera Centre, Calgary, AB.
Coordinating Team Exhibition, Untitled Art Society, Calgary, AB.
2007 Cumulus, Co-op Feed Mill Studio Show, Calgary, AB. (collaboration)
2006 Graduating Class Exhibition, AB College of Art and Design, Calgary, AB.
2005 Buy Nothing Day, Marion Nicoll Gallery, AB College of Art and Design, Calgary, AB.
2013/14 Distraction of a Stationary Nature, Prairie Tales 15, multiple venues and locations
2013 Distraction of a Stationary Nature, Lethbridge Alberta Motion Picture Showcase, Lethbridge, AB.
Distraction of a Stationary Nature, Calgary Animated Objects Festival, Calgary, AB. (Curated by Lyle Pisio)
2012 Output-Input: Emmedia’s Annual Member’s Screening, Emmedia Gallery & Production Society, Calgary, AB.
Interpose, Sweet City Celebration, BMO Centre-Stampede Park, Calgary, AB.
2011 Rise Up, Fallen Angel, Center for Performance Research, Brooklyn, NY., Curated by Victoria Gibson (Contributor)
Interpose, Quickdraw Animation Society, Calgary, AB. (outdoor projection).
2010 Interpose, Scholarship Screening, Quickdraw Animation Society, Calgary AB.
2009 Fooliage!, Open House Showcase, Quickdraw Animation Society, Calgary, AB.
Fooliage!, Sled Island Festival, Calgary Public Library, Calgary, AB.
Fooliage!, Quickdraw Animation Society Animation Lockdown Screening, The Marquee Room, Calgary, AB.
2012 Lecturer, UAS Submissions/Lecture, Untitled Art Society, Calgary, AB.
2012 Interview with Lewis Liski, Alternative Currency documentary film, Calgary, AB.
2011 Visiting Artist and Scholar Lecture Series Artist Talk, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
Multi-Tenant Spaces Discussion Panelist, Arts Champions Congress (Calgary Arts Development Authority), Theatre Junction GRAND Studio, Calgary, AB.
2010 Production Scholarship Artist Talk, Quickdraw Animation Society, Calgary, AB.
Other Professional Activities and Initiatives
2012 Calgary ArtsVest Program Assessor, Calgary Arts Development, Calgary, AB.
2010 - 2012 Selection Jury Member, Calgary Animated Objects Society Festival, Calgary, AB.
2010 Production Scholarship Award Selection Jury, Quickdraw Animation Society, Calgary, AB.
2009 - present Founding Board Member, Media and Visual Arts Housing Association of Calgary (MaVA) (Director 2008 - 2009, Treasurer 2009 - current), Calgary, AB.
2009 - 2012 Programming Selection Jury, Untitled Art Society, Calgary, AB.
2009 Board Development Training Member, Board Development Program, Alberta Tourism, Parks Recreation & Culture, Calgary, AB.
2008 Board Development Training – Wildrose Foundation, Calgary, AB.
2007 - present Board Member, Untitled Art Society (Director 2007 - 2009, Vice Chair 2009 - 2010, President 2010 – 2012, Past-President 2012 - present), Calgary, AB.
2012 Mandybura, Cadence, FFWD, Calgary, AB, December 13, 2012.
Weir, Bruce, Phantom Limb, Swerve, Calgary, November 30, 2012.
2011 Swarm, 2011 Elephant Artist Relief Fundraiser Participating Artists Catalogue, Calgary, AB, October, 2011
2008 Black, Anthea. "CAMPER Rides Again!: Watch for Truck Gallery's Contemporary Art Mobil Public Exhibition Rig at summer festivals", FFWD. August 7, 2008.
2006 ACAD Graduating Catalogue, Alberta College of Art & Design, Calgary, AB, May, 2006.
2005 Vida, Sandra. "Window Gazing: Plus-15 art provides a welcome diversion", FFWD. December 22, 2005.
2012 Winnipeg Film Group, Winnipeg, MB. (Distraction of a Stationary Nature, 2012)