Colorado State University’s Hatton Gallery presents an exhibition by Michael Shaughnessy, an artist who uses hay to create sculptures that explore pre-modern culture and religious symbolism. The exhibit will open with a reception for the artist March 16 from 7-9 p.m. The show runs from March 19-April 27 at the Hatton Gallery in the Visual Arts Building on campus. The opening reception and the exhibition are free and open to the public.
Each of Shaughnessy’s sculptures is made from hay and infused with elements that make reference to his Irish and Roman Catholic heritage as well as to an agricultural ancestry. Shaughnessy’s sculptures are not portable like many modern pieces. They must be created or reconstructed on-site in order to accommodate each setting’s space, lighting, architectural material and scale.
The sculptures usually employ plywood armatures that give the artwork its shape. The armatures then are covered with hay that is either woven or bound onto the sculpture. Colorado State art students and volunteers will help Shaughnessy assemble his sculptures in the Hatton Gallery the week prior to the show’s opening.
At the close of each exhibition, the hay used in Shaughnessy’s artwork is recycled or used to create other artworks. His sculptures are not meant to last; their meaning is linked to the idea of regeneration. After his sculptures are dismantled, the hay often is used on lawns or taken to farms for animals to eat.
The Hatton Gallery is open from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturdays. For more information about the exhibit, call the gallery at (970) 491-1989.