VAM 37 | Artist Profile: Keith Shearsby

Visual Arts Mississauga 37th Annual Juried Show of Fine Arts, at the Art Gallery of Mississauga from January 15 – February 14, received 232 entries from across Ontario. Jurors selected 41 artists to be in the show.Until the end of the exhibition, the AGM blog will feature VAM 37 artists. Learn about the thinking behind the works in the exhibit, and see the works in person at the AGM! Vote for the VAM 37 People’s Choice Winner at our facebook page! To purchase works, contact the AGM.

In this post, the AGM blog features Keith Shearsby.

23a Keith Shearsby

Keith Shearsby, Useful Things: Light Spade, 2014. Sculpture: Altered spade,113 x 31 x 16 cm.

Tell us about your work in VAM37. How did you come to the idea to construct this work? What was the thought process behind it and what were your strategies in expressing this idea visually?

The piece I have entered is “Light Spade”, a found spade that I have altered. It is part of a larger series of “Useful Things” that I’ve been creating in which I am exploring the idea of “usefulness” and how it filters our perception of ourselves and the world around us. One of my strategies to make this filter visible is to try to “improve” things until they no longer work.

I found the spade in a flea market, a common haunt of mine. It was an older model, very well made, and very heavy compared to spades made today. I thought that it would be better if it was lighter.

Rather than do the obvious and re-make it out of lighter materials, I thought I would try taking some of it away. I began drilling holes of various sizes, eventually drilling over five thousand holes and removing half of the mass. I was left with an object that still retains the form of a spade, but not the original function. The act of taking parts of it away has changed it from a sturdy industrial tool into a delicate lace-like object. I called it Light Spade as it now weighs less and also allows light to pass through it.

Based on your experience in the 905, what has been the importance of a public art gallery and juried art shows?

I live outside of the 905 area in Brantford, ON. My only experience of Mississauga so far has been with the Living Arts Centre and now the AGM. They are both magnificent structures and facilities that any city would be proud to have as their own. The broadening of the scope of the call for the juried show allows and encourages artists from across Ontario to experience and gain an appreciation for this emerging cultural hub of Mississauga.

View more of Keith’s artworks on his Facebook page.