Aaron Shifflett is an artist living in San Francisco.
I grew up in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley where hunting and fishing is a common sport and a way of life. I watched hunters hang deer from posts and cut them open, their innards cascading to the ground. As the animal was broken down, it was abstracted into parts that all animals share, and at that moment, I saw myself and every other animal in it. I knew my innards, bones, and muscle looked similar. Being a child, I didn't think of my mortality, that would come later, but it sparked a fascination with the corporeal.
In college I made paintings of those broken down animals and their innards just for the thrill, but I started to think about all the systems within me, like organs and bacteria, that I can't control. I wondered if the unseen and uncontrollable parts of my body are, in an ontological sense, part of me? And what about my body once I've been broken down by decomposition?
My work explores this question in a secular and spiritual way. Using images of microbiology, anatomy, and space, I create paintings where disparate parts of my identity merge into paradises. Bright gradients allude to an endless expanse. Overlapping porous layers remind the viewer of their own complex bodies. Amoeba-like creatures squirm across canvas as paint from icing pipes. They're fictional spaces that connect me to more parts of world.
East Bay Open Studios, Oakland, CA
Black On Black, Norton Factory Studios, Oakland, CA
Black Is The New Black, Studio 110 projects, San Rafael, CA
Color, BWAC, Brooklyn NYC
Cross Sections, WMRA, Harrisonburg, VA
Undergraduate Exhibition, Sawhill Gallery, Harrisonburg, VA
Palpitations, Artworks Gallery, Harrisonburg, VA
BFA, James Madison University, Studio Art
2014 - Present
Norton Factory Studios, Oakland, CA