Shelagh Brown one of the founding members of SPAM, she used to be based in Kansas but has been with us ever since her shed fell on top of her during a freak tornado.
My work draws on my own life and experience, and is often nostalgic, reflective, concerned with personal collective narratives and experience. My creative process is complex, builds upon ideas, research and conceptual thinking, and challenges perceptions and stereotypes.
Recently my practice has evolved around the conceptual creation of images and installations, suggested by chance encounters or in response to specific sites or events. I have challenged
perceptions of female identity and attitudes to women; challenged stereotypes that undermine gender equality; and explored the part played by women artists in feminist history.
This inspired me to research the city archive records of the persecution and burning of witches in Aberdeen in 1597, and the traditional story of The Red Shoes, re-interpreted in my degree show installation Bloodshed as a reclaiming of personal identity and creativity, through personal sacrifice, perseverance, and the indomitability of the human spirit. My concrete sculptural installation The Diabolical Dance was selected for the 2016 Look Again Festival in Aberdeen. Pairs of shoes, embedded in concrete, are symbolically turned to stone in the act of “dancing round the mercat cross at Halloween”, one of the accusations that led to the identification and execution of twenty-four named witches in Aberdeen in 1597. The empty shoes embody the accused, and the weight of concrete signifies the impossibility of defending themselves against accusations of “diabolical practices”.
My creative practice is an eclectic one that embraces a broad range of methods and materials including drawing media, diverse objects, building materials, textiles and social engagement. By making big, bold statements of colour and form I aim to challenge my audience to see, or think, in different ways about the ordinary events and experiences of our lives, to evoke a physical or emotional response, and to encourage creative thinking, transformation and growth.
I continue to be interested in evolving attitudes towards women, feminism and gender. I am also interested in exploring personal and global concerns about the future; our evolution as a human species; human conflict and resolution; our relationship with our planet; attitudes to resources and sustainability; the legacy we leave behind for future generations.
-Shelagh Brown, 2016.
Photo Credit to Fiona Stephen