Future Self Storage – Laura Shill

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May 8th through June 19th, 2021. Opening reception, Saturday, May 8th – 6:00 – 10:00 PM

Artist Statement –

The disembodied plaster, clay, and fiber figures in Laura Shill’s sculptural installation, Future Self Storage, reach, tumble, and spill throughout Leon Gallery, resisting the vessels that try to contain them while grasping at something perpetually beyond reach.  As an installation artist, Shill employs repetition of form and accumulation over time to create environments that immerse visitors and engage the sensorial experience of touch.  When these objects are not being activated by the public, they rest in storage.  This exhibition presents new iterations of the current (and future) contents of her storage and unpacks the motivation behind the act of keeping. 

Each new version these objects embody, affords them another chance to fulfill their ideal potential.  To keep them is to keep the hope alive that they will emerge from storage to one day become their fully realized selves, their purpose restored. 

Storage is a liminal space often marking a transition, objects held somewhere between remembering and forgetting. We keep the things that we cannot bear to confront and cannot bear to let go of, inexorably bound in aspiration and burden. We store our responsibility to the past and our ambitions for the future, keeping our objects in an unresolved state of waiting. 

Their condition parallels our own in this pandemic year of confinement and isolation.  As we emerge from a prolonged state of storage, what versions of ourselves will we find? 

Artist Bio –

Laura Shill is an artist based in Denver, CO.  Her work combines sculpture, installation, performance, and photography. Shill creates pronounced absences and addresses ideas of disclosure and concealment, agency and emotional risk, desire and discontent, often oscillating between humor and heartbreak. Her works explore the transformative potential of people and objects through early and experimental forms of image making that pair the sinister and beautiful.  Her sculptural and installation work borrows theatrical conventions to blur boundaries between public and private space to immerse participants. These works employ repetition to create environments that bring thousands of hours of invisible labor into material form. 

Shill has exhibited work nationally and internationally at an official satellite of the 57th Venice Biennale at the European Cultural Center, The Gallery of Contemporary Art, Colorado Springs, David B. Smith Gallery, Denver, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, and Durden and Ray, Los Angeles. She earned an MFA in Interdisciplinary Media Arts Practices from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2012. Images from her Hidden Mother archive were included in the 2013 Photographers’ Gallery London exhibition, Home Truths, Photography and Motherhood, and were published in the catalog edited by Susan Bright. For her 2016 solo exhibition, Phantom Touch, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, Shill developed and relied on a community-based equitable barter system for artistic labor and production to realize an ambitiously soft environment.

To read Jane Burke’s essay of Laura Shill’s exhibition click here