Photo credit: Melissa Lukenbaugh/Tulsa Artist Fellowship


I live and create on the ancestral lands of the Pokanoket, Narragansett, and Wampanoag Tribes. I assume the responsibility to educate myself on the long and violent legacy of my foreparents in the colonization of the United States. I will no longer overlook how this land was occupied, the effects of colonization, and the historical and ongoing injustices impacting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color today. 

Art Practice Statement


Gender. Race. Age. Intelligence. Marriage. Groundhog Day. Language follows specific rules, shaping how we understand the world. The definition of a word exists because people in a particular group or society believe the meaning is authentic and valid. As a result, language isn't neutral. It emphasizes certain things while ignoring others. When a community's accepted beliefs about power and privilege are perceived as objective truth, it can have serious social, cultural, and political consequences.


My art practice challenges social and linguistic constructs in the United States through precisely made artworks organized into collections. The work covers various topics and techniques that investigate behavior, media, policy, and institutions as tools of oppression. Research informs my choice of medium, materials, and imagery in a series and often involves installations, sculptures, works on paper, and videos. During the extensive labor of creating the work, the subject becomes emotionally and intellectually alive for me. The touch of materials, repetitive movements, and problem-solving provide me with clarity and understanding of my research.


Bio


Shelby Head (pronouns fluid) is a multidisciplinary artist known for their ability to challenge social and linguistic constructs in the United States through precisely made artworks. The work covers various topics and techniques that investigate behavior, media, policy, and institutions as tools of oppression. They constantly experiment and challenge themselves to create new work using varied materials, expanding their visual vocabulary and range. 


Head has worked in public art and exhibited widely in galleries, alternative spaces, and art fairs. They have received various professional awards, residencies, and fellowships, including the Tulsa Artists Fellowship Integrated Arts Award 2022-23, Tulsa Artist Fellowship 2020-22, THRIVE Powerhouse Grant in partnership with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts 2022, and Creative Projects Grant from the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition in 2021, 2021. Head was also awarded the Connecticut Artist Fellowship Grant from the Connecticut Office of the Arts in 2019, SLV Social Practice Residency in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, Adams State University in 2019, The Artist's Resource Trust Grant, a fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation in 2017. 


Recent exhibitions include Dirt Palace Storefront Window Gallery, Providence, RI, 2024; Living Arts of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK, 2023; Melton Gallery, Oklahoma Central University, Edmond, OK, 2022; Window Front Installation, Tulsa Artist Fellowship, Tulsa, OK, 2021; El Pueblo History Museum, Pueblo, CO, 2020; Cloyde Snook Gallery, Alamosa, CO, 2020; Alvarez Gallery, Stamford, CT, 2018, 2017, 2015; Paul Mellon Arts Center, Wallingford, CT, 2014; and Hilles Gallery, New Haven, CT, 2014. Head lives and works in Providence, RI.


EDUCATION

Adams State University - M.A. Sculpture

Adams State University - B.A. Visual Arts


SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2024 Dirt Palace, Providence, RI

2022 Melton Gallery, Oklahoma Central University, Edmond, OK

2021 Window Front Installation, Tulsa Artist Fellowship, Tulsa, OK

2020 El Pueblo History Museum, Pueblo, CO

2020 Cloyde Snook Gallery, Alamosa, CO

2018 Alvarez Gallery, Stamford, CT
2017 Alvarez Gallery, Stamford, CT

2015 Alvarez Gallery, Stamford, CT

2014 Paul Mellon Arts Center, Wallingford, CT

2014 Hilles Gallery, New Haven, CT

2014 A- Space Gallery, West Haven, CT

2013 Cloyde Snook Gallery, Alamosa, CO

2013 City Gallery, New Haven, CT

2011 The New Haven Lawn Club, New Haven, CT


SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2023 Living Arts of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK (co-curator)

2021 108 Contemporary, Tulsa, OK

2020 Alvarez Gallery, Virtual

2019 Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT

2018 Alvarez Gallery, Stamford, CT

2018 Lamont Gallery, Exeter, NH

2017 Queens College, New York, NY

2015 Sacred Heart University, Stamford, CT

2014 Alvarez Gallery, Stamford, CT

2014 Guild Group Show, New Canaan, CT

2013 Silvermine Arts Center, New Canaan, CT

2013 Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, CT

2013 Silvermine Guild of Artists, New Canaan, CT

2012 Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery, Stamford, CT

2012 West Cove A-Space Gallery, West Haven, CT


ART FAIRS

2016 CONTEXT, New York, NY

2016 Art Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, FL


SELECTED AWARDS

2022 Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, THRIVE! Powerhouse Grant in partnership with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

2022 Tulsa Artist Fellowship Arts Integration Award, 2022-23

2021 Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition Grant: Creative Projects

2020 Professional Basics Grant, Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition

2020 Tulsa Artist Fellowship, 2022-23

2019 Connecticut Artist Fellowship Grant

2019 National Endowment for the Arts SLV Social Practice Residency

2019 VSC Merit Grant, Vermont Studio Center

2019 VSC Community Service Exchange Award, Vermont Studio Center

2018 Fellowship Award, Jentel Artist Residency Program

2017 The Artist's Resource Trust Grant, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation


SELECTED PRESS

2024 Dirt Palace Interview (pdf, top of the page)

2022 University of Central Oklahoma Press, https://www3.uco.edu/press/prdetail.asp?NewsID=30934

2022 Mariia Shevchenko, Genderqueer Sculptures of Shelby Head on display at the Open Studios at Archer Studios, The TCC Connection, http://tccconnection.com/genderqueer-sculptures-of-shelby-head-on-display-at-the-open-studios-at-archer-studios/, July 28, 2022

2020 KRZA National Public Radio-affiliated station in Alamosa, Colorado Interview: Listen to the interview under the news tab

2019 Lucy Gellman, Nasty Women Prove Sublime, Arts Paper, March 11, 2019, 

2019 Brian Slattery, Nasty Women Get Divine, New Haven Independent, March 5 2019

2018 Laguarda, Ignacio, Artist confronts 'shameful' slavery history

Stamford Advocate, October 12, 2018

2017 Rowen Gray, "Paper And Light," Take, July 17, 2017


RESIDENCY PROGRAMS

2024 Artcroft, Paris/Millersburg, KY

2020-22 Tulsa Artist Fellow, Tulsa, OK

2020 Sculpture Space, Utica, NY - Canceled

2019 San Luis Valley Social Practice Arts Residency, Alamosa, CO

2019 Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT

2018 Jentel Artist Residency Program, Banner, WY

2006 Red Cinder Creativity Center, Na'alehu, HI

2005 Artcroft, Carlisle, KY

2004 KHN Center for the Arts, Nebraska City, NE


LECTURES/PRESENTATIONS

2023 OVAC THRIVE! Grants project

2022 Melton Gallery, Oklahoma Central University, Edmond, OK

2020 Cloyde Snook Gallery, Adams State University, Alamosa, CO

2015 Alvarez Gallery, Stamford, CT

2014 Paul Mellon Arts Center, Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, CT


CURRENT AFFILIATIONS

2020-23 Tulsa Artist Fellowship

2022-23 OVAC Grants Committee: 

Educational and Travel Assistant and Professional Basics