There exists a certain barrier in art, in which most people upon attending a gallery expect to see something of exception within the artwork, something otherworldly captured within the artist’s subject and transformed onto the canvas. University of Evansville alumn Shannon Bourn’s artwork breaks out of that expectation by drawing inspiration from candid photography of people she sees in her life, inviting the mundane onto the walls of fine art. She creates a refreshing perspective of idle, everyday life with striking colors and kinetic lines stretched out and preserved on canvas. In her show I See You, of which the University had the pleasure of hosting in the Melvin-Peterson Gallery, Bourn captured passing moments of life in photos taken on her phone and recreated them on her canvas. Every piece has an underpainting that bleeds through to the foreground, and every foreground has pieces missing and blank spaces to allow the splashes of color and form in the underpainting to take the place of a face or hand. The use of white space is exemplary, which is further contrasted by drips of paint running down the composition and her use of bright, vivid colors. Every painting is full of energy, with a sketch- like quality present in Bourn’s unique style. The use of the underpainting showing through isn’t out of haste or an unfinished quality — on the contrary. Every underpainting relates to the subject. In Fisherman, the figure holds up his fresh catch, his arm sweeping behind him to maintain balance. Nets, hooks, and buoys float behind him in the underpainting, creating the atmosphere of a busy dock crowded with boats and vendors without any detail.

As the show is cleared out to make room for the upcoming Student Art Show, a common theme can be found among Bourn’s works. As we pass by countless people in our busy days, walking by without a second thought, so too are intricate lives with unique personalities passed by and ignored, layers upon layers of experience and thoughts swept along and pushed aside. Bourn peels those layers back, allowing a glimpse at what might be, creating a moment of introspection where the audience is made to be curious about the world around them. They are made to question who exactly the barista making their coffee might be, why two girls are taking a night out at this moment and not another one, and on and on ad infinitum.

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