Student Profile: Shelby Reed
Shelby is an artist from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She attended The Tyler School of Art & Architecture at Temple University where she earned her BFA with a concentration in ceramics, along with an entrepreneurship certificate from The Fox School of Business.
While she works mostly in ceramic, she also implements mixed media materials and processes. Experimentally using wire, resin, plaster, foam, yarn, wool, spray paint, beads, and more. These individual materials and repeated ceramic forms come together to create her colorful, organic, and maximalist sculptural works.
After completing undergrad Shelby was able to travel and participate in several opportunities at craft schools across the country. She was selected for studio assistantships at Penland School of Craft and Pocosin Arts School of Fine Craft. She was also selected to attend a three-week summer intensive at Ox Bow School of Art where she was able to learn welding and other metal working processes. Lastly, she was selected to attend the Maxwell/ Hanrahan Residency at Peter’s Valley School of Craft.
Her most recent project is an exhibition for the Philadelphia International Airport, where she is responsible for the creation of five new large scale sculptural works to be displayed in the airport’s international terminal. The pieces will be installed in November of 2023 in Terminal A-West and remain on display for six months.
The body of work I am currently making explores the ideas of escapism, memory, fantasy, and storytelling. I have been crafting this work through the creation of ceramic and mixed media sculptures. The pieces mirror organic floral growth seen in nature with repeated elements and cascading forms. Crowded compositions and saturated colors also allude to an otherworldly origin.
The work is made in parts that are later connected or arranged in an assemblage process. Each individual element comes together to help illustrate the story or feeling I am trying to capture. The surface and texture are also important in helping create the fantasy world. Washes of bright colors are applied and layered to build the surface. I use flesh like pink tones and yellowish greens inspired from mold and decay. I enjoy playing on the line between beauty and disgust with colors and textures. Glass beads, resin, wire, and fiber are used to further add to the abundant landscape.
The body of work is constantly evolving and transforming. Recently I have been thinking about and exploring the iconography of portals, windows, gates, and doors. I have been using this iconography in the composition of my newest triptych wall piece series. I hope to continue to explore this body of work and push my ideas and craft further.