Morgan Shankweiler

My work strives to articulate how humans connect and relate to each other through drawing, painting, game creation and interactive sculptural installation. The visual metaphor of common linkable objects and tools are engaged on the canvas through artist-created games with a focus on rule-based systems, boundaries, data, modularity and aleatory. Fascinated with the overlap between the rules and systems of games and the rules and systems of social life, I consider the ramifications of the social systems we live in and attempt to model recognizable moments in social time through the visual recording of aleatoric game play in the tradition of Wang dominoes and Tesselata. I approach my observations of human behavior through a trained sociological lens, utilizing both ethnographic and quantitative analysis, and I approach my artwork similarly, straddling a line between realistically rendered metaphorical work and more abstract data visualization. The creation of games informed by social research comes first, then play and, lastly, a recorded visual model imbued with the whimsy of chance and the rigidity of rules. The final artworks are maps of human connectivity and metaphors for complex social interactions; hands holding, sustained eye contact, a casual conversation about the weather, joined protest, family dynamics, segregation, embrace. Larger works in a variety of media are ‘net’works, each knot, link or loop, each channel of connection, indicating a corresponding human connection that holds a community of people together. At once representational and abstract, sculptural and interactive, the broad reaches of my practice are connected by my use of modular, linkable units; grid squares, blocks, rope segments and knots, chain links, hands, paper clips and recognizable game pieces and household items, to metaphorically represent and comment on the ways in which we connect with each other in American society.

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Posted on

February 14, 2023