Shona Macdonald: Uncanny Valley

Shona Macdonald received her MFA in 1996 in studio arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her BFA in 1992 from Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. She has had selected solo shows at Ebersmoore, Chicago, IL (2012), the Roswell Art Museum, Roswell, NM (2011), Engine Room, Wellington, New Zealand (2010), Proof Gallery, Boston, MA (2009), Reeves Contemporary, New York, NY (2008), Den Contemporary, Los Angeles, CA (2007), Skestos-Gabriele, Chicago, IL (2005), Galerie Refugium, Berlin, Germany (2002), and Fassbender Gallery, Chicago, IL (1998 and 2000). She has shown in numerous group shows.

Her work has been reviewed in Art in America, Art News, the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Sacramento Bee and New American Paintings. She has been a Visiting Artist at over forty institutions, including Wimbledon College of Art, London (1998), Georgia State University, Atlanta (2007), Cornell University (2006), the University of Alberta, and the University of Calgary, Canada (2002). Shona Macdonald was the recipient of a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, NY (2009), a Fellow at Roswell Artist-in-Residence in Roswell, New Mexico (2010-11), Can Serrat, Barcelona, Spain (2012), and the Cromarty Arts Trust in Scotland.

She is a Professor of Studio Art and Graduate Program Director at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Shona Macdonald’s current work investigates various anthropomorphized prosaic objects tucked away within the rural New England landscape, where she lives and works. These include hay bales becoming teeth, reflectors resembling eyes, tarps covering over-winterized plants, or fence posts and traffic cones masquerading as figures.

It is the very fact of their being non-descript and overlooked which causes her to be interested in and re-present them as a means of pointing out to the viewer something new to take notice of and to connect to: seeing something we have seen before. Similarly, her newest work, taking its cue from the 1832 painting, The Great Reserve, by Casper David Friedrich, represents images of puddles, where a literal reflection transposes parts of the landscape that would normally reside outside the picture frame into the composition — for example, placing the ‘sky’ on the ‘ground’. Further, the organic shape of the puddles themselves resemble the outline of albeit imaginary ‘ghostly’ shapes hovering within the landscape.


Opening Reception: Saturday, February 28, 3 – 5 PM


Shona Macdonald is represented by CYNTHIA-REEVES.

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