David Shannon-Lier gave a wonderful talk in the gallery last Friday, February 24th. Attended by members of the astronomy club, various faculty, and students taking advanced levels of photography, the talk was a brilliant discourse that focused on the absurd/profound task of the artist trying to make a tiny mark in the face/history of the cosmos. Weaving together stories and images of the depth of the galaxy, the history of crop circles and land markings, personal milestones, 70's earth art, and Hubble telescope imagery, Mr. Shannon-Lier was able to walk the delicate line between the sacred and the profane.
Perhaps Mr. Shannon-Lier's most poignant point was the relationship he drew between portraits of his son and wife and the works of an artist like Richard Long. Remarking how we humans try to mark milestones in our life (the birth of a son, an anniversary) with family photographs to memorialize a moment, Mr. Shannon-Lier drew parallels to Mr. Long's work of the 1970's. As Mr. Long puts it, he strives for:
"Simple creative acts of walking and marking
about place, locality, time, distance and measurement."
Mr. Shannon-Lier's work may not be as simple as Mr. Long's, needing the calculus of physics and instruments of precise measurement. But the instinct and desire is the same: to make a mark, however fleeting, in a world where we find out daily how insignificant we are.