Miles to Empty, a new exhibition by Shannon Goff, assistant professor sculpture and ceramics, is installed at the Ralph Arnold Fine Arts Annex, Loyola University, Chicago, through October 18. Following the Loyola exhibition, the work will be exhibited in Detroit.
Miles to Empty is a solo show that features a single work of art—a full-scale cardboard sculpture of a 1979 Lincoln Continental Mark V automobile. Supported by grants from the College of Architecture and the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Shannon recreated her 1979 “land yacht” in her garage studio after undertaking research at the Benson Ford Research Center, Dearborn, Michigan.
As a native of Detroit schooled in the streetwise culture of ‘Motor City,’ Shannon has been witness to the ups and downs of industrial prosperity, rampant consumer capitalism and the more recent economic free fall of the city. However, the spirit of her exploration comes from memories of direct experience. When she was 5, her grandfather purchased the “special edition collector’s series model in medium metallic turquoise with a white padded vinyl carriage roof, turquoise leather interior and a Cartier clock.” “[B]est built for the highway, the Mark V’s smooth ride conjured up the sensation of floating on a cloud,” remembers Shannon.
An extract from the wall text that accompanies the exhibition describes in more detail some issues Shannon explores: “In Miles to Empty, Goff reflects on how our increasing reliance on adaptive technologies has diminished the routines of human industry, and is changing our aesthetic sensibilities. Dauntingly laborious, challenging in concept and ambitious in scope, this monumental sculpture embodies Goff’s immense energy and her love of making. Goff demonstrates a high level of skill and ingenuity, which used to be present in all manufacturing before the production line eradicated first the hand, then the whole individual. Each part of the car is uniquely made, and in making it, she has imagined the many hands that collectively fabricated the vehicles on the Lincoln company assembly line.”
For an interview with Shannon about Miles to Empty, please visit http://blogs.luc.edu/artsalive/portfolio/shannon-goff-interview/