Shawn McNulty Art Artist


Artist Statement

My work is dependent on design fundamentals: form, color, and composition. I believe the most complex emotions can be evoked from the simplest of forms. My style explores the relationship between man-made structures and the natural world; the idea of recognizable shapes and structures living within irrational thoughts and emotions. I begin a new piece very spontaneously and become more detailed as the composition starts to show itself. The process involves layering. The first layers are the most erratic and freeform, similar to automatic writing. An impasto style is used during this time creating thick textures. A dialogue is created with the painting, and it starts to show me what needs to be done. My newer work has taken on more of a complex composition. I’m still using vibrant colors in more of a color field format instead of the more chaotic arrangements of multicolored geometric shapes of past works. Also, I work with my feet utilizing a “shoe palette knife” I invented, which is basically a large commercial grade joint knife duct taped to a shoe. I enjoy the broad sweeping and jabbing motions of my legs while looking down on the canvas from above. Thick layers of acrylic and pumice are applied, scraped off, reapplied, sliced off, smashed, scuffed, etc. Sometimes I add collage components including paint skins and magazine pages on the first layer. The color fields interplay with each other, attempting to find common ground resulting in complex edges. The process continues until a solution is found, always applying and mixing paint directly on the canvas, scraping away layers to reveal the ghostly characters of the previous.  Determining when a painting is finished is a crucial and difficult step in my process. The emphasis on color fields and horizontal lines comes from my desire to add calmness over the chaotic underneath layers, which is an observation about how our brains try to do this everyday as we interact with an evergrowing complex and overactive social environment.  I also have a background in Psychology, and my work can be interpreted as a relationship between the id (chaotic underlayers) and the super-ego (color fields.)