# Arts in Milwaukee – Shana McCaw and Brent Budsberg – art
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Shana McCaw and Brent Budsberg

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artist bio

Shana McCaw and Brent Budsberg are a collaborative team with an twelve-year history working in sculpture, performance, and site-specific installation. Often incorporating scale models to explore deception and suspension of disbelief, a 19th century Midwestern farmhouse, frequently depicted in unlikely or impossible scenarios, has emerged as a central character in their work. Through it, they examine the psychology of place, ancestral memory, and the passage of time. More recently, McCaw and Budsberg have been performing for the camera, using photography and video to document the arduous toil of two pioneer-era characters that are the conceptual inhabitants of the farmhouse. Their photography also works to decontextualize the miniatures, exploiting the camera’s ability to eliminate scale cues and heighten the ambiguity of the subjects depicted. In exhibiting these works, structures often intersect or interact with the gallery walls and fixtures. This practice has led McCaw and Budsberg to an investigation of the gallery as an imperfect attempt to create a man-made void. The concept of the void is a thread that runs through much of their work, where subjects often appear to be fading in or out of the limits of perception.
McCaw and Budsberg are also founding members of the WhiteBoxPainters, a performance art group specializing in large-scale, temporary public projects. McCaw is the director of the Cardinal Stritch Art Department Gallery and she currently teaches at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and Cardinal Stritch University. Budsberg is an exhibition designer for The Chipstone Foundation. He also teaches sculpture at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. The two received Milwaukee’s Mary Nohl Fellowship for Individual Artists in the Established category in 2008. In 2012 and 2013 they were Artists in Residence at the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Wendover Utah, and the Goldwell Open Air Museum near Death Valley, California.

artist statement

Our work explores architecture as common ground upon which the conflicts and tensions linking past and present may quarrel. Old buildings are concrete evidence that our ancestors were once here, and they exhibit the patina of past work, ideals, and desires. Time travels through or perhaps around architecture, providing a way to see into the past. But the rippled windows of a long-forgotten house are also portals through which the past can see us. When we inhabit the structures built by our ancestors, we are influenced by the ideals and philosophies of the people who built them. These biases are imposed upon us as we walk dark, dusty halls. For some this provides a sense of continuity and pride, for others it is a burden - the principles of our ancestors often starkly contrast our own. These are the tensions, intersections and collisions of past and present that we endeavor to understand through our work.