# Arts in Milwaukee – Nicole Shaver –
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Arts in Milwaukee

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  • “Goody Bag Geodes”Goody Bag Geodes

    I brought back to the US with me some tile I bought in Lisbon wrapped in a plastic bag.  The souvenir is all and well, but the bag was so actually representative of the grit I felt there. I thought about it as a relic of that time, a very specific place and time and utilitarianism of it. I encased the bags in resin using gift bags as a mould, encasing them with their own form.  I thought about greek amphora and pouring vessels, painted imagery showing the use of the object on which it was inscribed. What if the bag were dug up in the future, inspected to try to understand the humans that once lived there?  Goody Bag Geodes are common grocery and takeout bags cast in resin.  Created by casting in plastic bags to create surface texture reminiscent of a gift bag.  The process repeats, building layers around the bag to mimic a geological formation.   We are in a society of maximum creation, in an inexhaustible system capable of infinite output. We are creating artifacts of a society addicted to the illusion of endless growth and consumption.  We make and cast aside and buy and throw away, regurgitating fallacies of value in objects who’s function is laughably frivolous in its construction and in its ability to ‘die,’ or return to let’s say, to the natural.  Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice, leaving our mark as a compression of useless suffocating totes.

  • “Some Kind of Way”Some Kind of Way

    Some Kind of Way is a site-specific installation comprising 1,000 bricks harvested from an abandoned furniture factory in Ohio. The basic elements of construction metamorphosed into an uncanny pathway, referencing a yellow brick road in deterioration. The path references to the condition of dispossession and displacement that occurs when places are abandoned. Artist in Residence at Open Wabi, Fredericktown, Ohio 2017

  • “Lotto Grotto Totem”Lotto Grotto Totem

    Lotto Grotto Totem is a sculpture comprised of donated and collected materials found and installed at The James Black Gallery in Vancouver, BC. Inspired by structures of totem poles and grottos, both of which mark place with aesthetic interjection, I sought to create a tactile gathering place for artists. Old breeze blocks were repurposed from the neighborhood, overgrown chives were salvaged from behind a dumpster, an evacuated fish tank was rigged up with solar powered lights to create the ‘Grotto Gallery,’ a small-scale exhibition space. Artist in Residence, The James Black Gallery, Vancouver, BC. March 2019.

  • “Arch for Árbakkasteinn”Arch for Árbakkasteinn

    Arch for Árbakkasteinn is a permanently installed sculpture made from 100 harvested stones framing a nearby island in Skagaströnd, Iceland. During the continual sunlight found in the spring of Iceland, one is acutely aware of the inexhaustible and primal landscape, with its aggressively purging volcanoes, stirring windy seas and cosmic glaciers. This small town shows great pride for its town peak, Mount Spákonufell, boasting several trails to its summit and even a museum for the accompanying folklore. I found it troublesome, the town’s equally as revelatory mysterious Island Árbakkasteinn, meaning ‘Riverbank Rock,’ was to be yet acclaimed. Arch for the Island Árbakkasteinn frames the island as a notable landmark and delineates an environment for the town to directly interact with the island that seems too far out of reach. The sculpture has since been greatly embraced by the locals and a common tourist photo-op! Artist in Residence at Nes Artist Residency. Skagaströnd, Iceland. 2018

Nicole Shaver

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Contact Info
Nicole Shaver Art Studio
301 N. Franklin Street
Suite 3
Port Washington, WI 53074 Un


artist bio

Nicole Shaver grew up along Lake Michigan, where she skipped rocks and watched fisherman gut salmon as a child. Largely inspired by ideas of place and belonging, she researches geographical sites and employs them as metaphorical compasses to navigate the space between reality and fantasy, the banal and the sublime. She received her BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her MFA from the University of Iowa. She has attended artist residencies in Colorado, Iceland, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin, while exhibiting widely throughout the United States and Scandinavia. Her work has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and published in New American Paintings and Studio Visit Magazine. Shaver is committed to the artistic growth in Port Washington, curating for Gallery 224, managing the printmaking and photography space Studio 224, and volunteering for the Port Washington Arts Council. She maintains a painting studio on Franklin Street in Port Washington and is currently attending PADA Studios Artist Residency in Lisbon.

artist statement

I endeavor to understand ‘place’ by engaging fully with its material value, elevating banal human detritus and local geology to the artistic practice. I am interested in the intersection between the natural and the man-made, objects that seem otherworldly and can catalogue the growth of our planet. I record this investigation of the Anthropocene, our current man-made geological era, through image-making, employing interdisciplinary media: installation, printmaking, photography, and sculpture. My collected specimens, historical research, and genuine spatial interaction become semiotic compasses to help me navigate the undiscovered identities of place. From these discoveries, I create visual landscapes that combine reality with impression, providing a framework that empathizes with our transitioning Earth.