Title: The Earl Grey Cell
Dimensions: width: 32cm, height: 44cm, depth: 19cm
Notes: Ceramic Sculpture (with additions of kiln formed glass)
Shauna McCann was born in Calgary, Canada in 1978 and moved to Northern Ireland at age 13. Her ceramic work is a result of emotional responses to an experience both analogically and literally. Shauna was awarded with a BA(Hons) Degree in Design Crafts, Cumbria College of Art & Design in 2000. She has been based at Conway Mill Studios, Belfast since 2005. Shauna has had solo shows in McKenna Gallery, Omagh 2013, Cregagh Library, Belfast 2012 and The John Hewitt, Belfast 2005. She has also been part of 4-person group shows in Canvas Gallery, Belfast 2010 and McKenna Gallery, Omagh 2010.
Shauna’s work was recently selected for the Lisburn City art collection through the 2013 Anna Cheyne Award. In 2013 she was also awarded with a bursary from the Arts Council of NI, Support for the Individual Arts Programme. In 2011 Shauna was awarded the Earnest Anderson Memorial Bursary, Castlereagh Borough Council, which resulted in a residency at Tyrone Gutherie Centre, Monaghan.
Shauna’s new body of work involves the construction of objects and figures supported on ceramic tables and chairs. The concept of producing these tables and chairs has been heavily influenced by traditions of sculptures being placed on plinths for elevation and to bear the weight of such decorative structures. Ultimately Shauna is attempting to create a narrative around themes of memory, nostalgia, metamorphosis and identity. Shauna’s practice is concerned with the exploration of clay whilst also investigating the possibilities of a crossover of materials between glass and metal. She embraces the techniques and tradition of clay but is always attempting to push the boundaries of this versatile medium.
‘The Earl Grey Cell’ was inspired by a graphic novel by Art Spiegelman called ‘The Complete Maus’. Spielgelman depicts his parents’ story in occupied Poland during WW2, and portrays the Nazis as cats and the Jews as mice. As this story renders the mice experiencing ‘hell on earth‘, Shauna wanted to produce her own ‘mouse prisoner‘. The difference is that ‘The Earl Grey Cell’ is cosy and comfortable, yet it still is a prison…. A word play on the title of the piece also refers to brain ’grey cell’ matter and how one can become a prisoner of their own mind. Shauna often uses humour in her work, yet the themes of this piece are quite serious. ‘The Earl Grey Cell’ challenges the viewer to question areas under discussion of different prison systems around the world and also on how education can set us free.