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Andrea Shearing

Andrea Shearing is a three-dimensional painter who has exhibited internationally in the United Kingdom, Scotland, Switzerland, Spain, and the United States. Recent solo exhibitions include Athorpe Gallery in the UK and Olaba Gallery in Spain. She has exhibited consistently since 1972 and has participated in over 40 shows. She is represented by Artifacts Project Agency in New York City and has participated in an artist residency program at the New Ferry Butterfly Park in Wirral, North West England. 

The paintings are executed on three dimensional relief surfaces. Often incorporating streaks of prismatic colors and representations of nature, these works literally pop out towards the viewer and are shaped with negative space reflecting the concave outline of the subject. With a refined, polished finish of solid blocks of colors, the paintings may sometimes look more like printmaking prints rather than acrylic paintings. Having solid forms of color by no means takes away from the painting aesthetics, the pristine nature of the paintings however appear carefully and precisely outlined as to where shapes of color were laid upon. The colors seem to have a reflective sheen of highlights, with shades regulated to various forms of imaginative colors. There seems to be a mix between low contrast and high contrast forms but always containing low saturation. The variety in values gives off a complex surface and finish to the veneer. 

Some of her most fascinating pieces include Spring Waterfall (pictured above) and Giant Waterfall (pictured below), which notably reflect her incorporation between two-dimensional and three-dimensional design. They both establish dominant cool colors of blues, greens, and variations of turquoise in a vertical composition as if dripping pools of water from above. The use of negative concave space dictates forms which can be manipulated at will. Andrea remains in command of how she structures the paintings against a backdrop of empty space, almost tricking the viewer into believing the geometric, almost abstracted forms of pools of water are versions of reality. These works do in fact raise the question of the difference between illusion and observational space. By dividing the artworks between two and three-dimensionality, they leave a state of conceptual confusion upon the viewer as to how to interpret definitions of a subject. The works are as much a construction as they are a deliberate deconstruction of space, illusion, color, negative space, and even bending the governing rules separating concavities and convex forms.

Andrea Shearing’s interactive paintings have us question concepts of which even Aristotle would have not imagined. Can flat and formed surfaces be integrated with one another to be indistinguishable in definition? Can three-dimensional and two-dimensional art be integrated in a way where one form cannot be dominant over the other? Are these works really illusions if they bend the rules of negative capacity? These are questions the viewer should be asking themselves when contemplating Andrea’s three-dimensional paintings. When the paintings on the surface themselves are painted in geometric patterns, blurring the lines between representation, abstraction, and pure design, then are they in fact optical illusions or not? These conceptual works which push the boundaries of contemporary image-making in regards to the very basic categories of surface, help us appreciate nuance in regards to post-structuralism applied to the art of contemporary painting, which few artists achieve. The paintings could just also be appreciated as simply beautiful without having to be frustrated over standard definitions of form and surface. Andre Shearing makes aesthetically beautiful, thought provoking art which enables the viewer to engage in philosophical musings.


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