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Shawne Major: Schema


Exhibition Dates: March 12, 2022—Jan. 7, 2023


Shawne Major uses everyday materials like Mardi Gras beads, plastic toys, and other baubles to create works of art. Her layered abstract compositions, which she considers drawings because they are sewn together using long lengths of thread, are metaphors for how culture and belief systems are constructed by individuals. Major believes each tiny moment during a lifetime accumulates to establish one’s sense of self. At a larger scale, culture or society in general is created when this process is replicated by groups of people living together in close proximity.

With this in mind, it is fitting that the exhibition title Schema refers to a plan or theory with an internal logic. This implies that the accumulation of the experiences Major obliquely refers to has an internal logic that is not random and raises philosophical questions about God, institutions, the self, and the agency of people. The Hilliard’s atrium is the perfect location to explore these ideas because Major’s interests are broadly thematic and composed of tiny inter-related pieces. Specifically, the huge volume of space the atrium offers adds another layer to the metaphors at play, by elevating the work above visitors’ heads and revealing how interrelations between individual works can expand on the narratives at play within individual works of art.

Shawne Major’s work resides in the permanent collections of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Hilliard Art Museum. She earned an MFA from Rutgers University and was also awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Artist Grant, as well as a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. The venues that have exhibited Major’s work include the Alexandria Museum of Art, Walter Anderson Museum of Art, Scope Art Fair (Irvine Contemporary), Dallas Contemporary, Mobile Museum of Art, Texas Gallery, and many more.

—Hilliard Art Museum