Bio (click for a PDF)
Toronto artist Chris Shepherd works to document, interpret and make sense of the rapidly shifting and changing world around us. His process is directed by composition, colour and form, and strongly influenced by contemporary architecture, design, painting, sculpture, literature and music.
For the past decade Shepherd’s focus has been on capturing everyday urban life in isolated moments of calm, quiet tranquility. His work pays tribute to—and celebrates— the mundane and ordinary, working as a reminder that if we take the time and pay attention there is vitality and beauty in everything around us all the time. Empty subway platforms, hallways, storefronts, concrete sidewalks, vacant interiors, or myriad of other day-to-day tableaus can rival the serenity and peace of the most spectacular sunset.
At the same there is often a prominent otherworldly, post apocalyptic, undertone in his art. Although humanity in all its humour, absurdity and industry is strongly insinuated throughout the work, it’s very rarely directly shown. In any given piece, the hand of the artist and humanity itself could be waiting just outside our observational frame or it may have been completely eradicated forever. His images could very well capture or represent the split second immediately after some global rapture—frozen at the exact moment when people disappeared forever and nature is left to reinstitute itself as the dominant force of the future narrative.
Interwoven with his observational approach and themes of calm and trepidation is a fascination with the process of making and the definition of a work itself. What is a painting, sculpture or a photograph and can the process and time used to create something be examined in and of themselves rather than simply for the stories they tell? What is work and what is art? How does time and change affect us and how can we make further sense of our world and humanity by examining the very tools and process for telling stories.
Shepherd’s work has been exhibited across North America and is included in major corporate and private collections in Canada and the U.S.