Shawn’s Glove llustration
Two Flagstaff artists are working hand in glove to exhibit their work at Northern Arizona University.
“Remnants: Drawing & Photographs of Found Gloves,” a new art display at the NAU College of Arts and Letters Riles Gallery (Bldg. 15), features fine art photography and sketches of found work gloves.
Eric O’Connell began photographing gloves in 2008. He is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the NAU School of Communication, where he teaches photojournalism. Artist Shawn Skabelund began incorporating found gloves into drawings and sculptures in 2008. Both artists began picking the gloves up off the ground, but now gloves are given to them by carpenters, loggers, ranchers or wildfire fighters.
“For both of us, the gloves exude a sense of longing, portraying a stilled-life, a memento mori,” O’Connell says. “There is also a sense of animism in each found glove, and if it is made of leather, in the animal whose body it came from.”
Skabelund’s mind runs curiously when he comes across a lonely, lost glove: “There is a longing that permeates from the wearer who lost the glove. Who wore it? What was their trade or craft? What did they feel when they discovered their loss?”
O’Connell collects gloves and keeps them as intact as possible. They are carefully transported to his studio and photographed as they were originally found, including with any dirt, rocks and other debris. Photos are then mounted and preserved with a resin, creating a similar metaphorical effect as insects preserved in amber.
O’Connell is a trained anthropologist, specializing in visual anthropology. He authored the book “A New Reality” of photographic images from 9/11. His work is collected by the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University.
Skabelund —a place-based installation artist and curator —works with landscapes to reveal their complex issues, ecologies, and cultural histories. For nearly three decades, his work has been exhibited in venues throughout the United States, exploring what Wendell Berry calls the “unsettling of America.”
Both artists will be at the “Remnants” opening reception from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 8, on the second floor of the Riles Building at 317 W. Tormey Drive on north campus.