Steven Shearer is known for using a wide range of traditional and contemporary media in works that address the human subject and its relationship with the outside world. The Vancouver-based artist will represent Canada at the 54th International Art Exhibition − La Biennale di Venezia 2011 (Venice Biennale), from June 4 to November 27, 2011. The only international visual arts exhibition to which Canada sends official representation, the Biennale is among the most prestigious contemporary art exhibitions in the world.
The artist was chosen by a national selection committee comprised of senior contemporary art curators from across Canada and formed by the National Gallery of Canada
(NGC), organizer of the Canadian representation for the 2011 Biennale. The NGC's Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Josée Drouin-Brisebois, will organize the exhibition of Steven Shearers work.
Adopting and elaborating upon distinct stylistic repertoires and themes specific to the history of figure painting, Shearer draws formal and thematic parallels between art history and the iconography associated with various subcultures including their modes of dissemination such as fanzines, online message boards, and image shrines on personal websites. He is interested in how contemporary society unconsciously echoes and shapes specific manners of appearance that have been explored by historical movements or schools. Central to Shearers work is his ongoing compilation of an archive of thousands of images and text culled from magazines, appropriated from songs and captured from the internet. In his paintings, text-based works, sculptures and photographic compilations, these fragmentary sources function generatively as they are combined and recycled across his works.
"Under its pop cultural surface, Steven Shearer's work is surprisingly complex and insightful," said National Gallery of Canada Director and CEO Marc Mayer. "By showing us aspects of popular culture anachronistically, and from so many different points of view, he exposes the false hierarchy of high and low art and prompts us to consider the more interesting differences between the cultural industries and the art world. Shearer's intelligence and originality are now widely recognized among the cognoscenti. It is time to broaden the audience for this brilliant young Canadian artist and Venice will do that."
The official Canadian participation at the Biennale's 54th International Art Exhibition will be made possible by the generous financial assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts and of private philanthropists from across Canada and beyond.
The Artist: Steven Shearer
Since 1996, Steven Shearer has exhibited across the globe, with solo shows in Amsterdam, Birmingham, Zurich, Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Turin, Tokyo and Vancouver notably. His group exhibitions include Double Album: Daniel Guzman and Steven Shearer at MUCA, University Museum of Arts and Sciences in Mexico City and at the New Museum in New York (2008); The Order of Things at the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Belgium (2008); Blasted Allegories - Werke aus der Sammlung Ringier at the Kunstmuseum Luzern in Switzerland (2008); Canada Dreaming in Kunstverein, Wolfsburg (2006); All the Pretty Corpses at The Renaissance Society, University of Chicago (2005); Pin Up: Contemporary Collage and Drawing at the Tate Modern, London (2004); Rock My World in San Francisco at the California College of the Arts Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts (2002).
In recent years, nine of his works have entered Canada's national collection.