At around this time, Shelton met Bob Fleming, a community member of the print shop run by UB. After rediscovering print, Shelton had a vision of opening her own studio: somehow buying a house and putting a press in the basement and working with local artists. Bob had similar, if grander, ambitions. He had seen Crown Print Press in San Francisco, one of the premier print studios in the country, and thought Buffalo should have its own. The ambitious undertaking gained traction with the addition of UB alumna Mizin Shin, an impeccable printmaker, who seems to understand how to realize almost any image in print. The three together created Mirabo Press—for Shelton, a dream come true.
An artist driven by the processes afforded by a print studio, Shelton always approached artmaking through a researcher’s brain, applying scholarship to creativity to try to explore questions that troubled her. Recent years filled with difficult personal circumstances have challenged her in a different way, however. “You just come up against things that force you to see that you are a vulnerable person,” Shelton says. The Albright-Knox’s Works, from Home collaborative mural project in spring–summer 2020 represented the first entry in this new phase of work in which she wanted to communicate with an audience in a very different way.
“The trick was combining what I think about,” Shelton says, “which is still important to me, regardless of whether I'm soft and squishy or hardened,” and finding a way to “meld wanting to give everybody a big hug with recognizing that we have all of these problems.”
In some ways, her Albright-Knox Northland residency has been an almost perfect realization of this goal, as she has found herself interacting with young visitors who might be seeing abstract artwork—or an artist in the process of making abstract artwork—for the first time.
People have been coming up to Shelton throughout her residency. When she asks if they are artists, they might say, “Oh, no, I can't do this type of drawing.” However, she says, “showing them a process where you can make drawings that are abstract and hold just as much weight as something photorealistic, they give themselves permission to think, ‘Oh, maybe I can do that.’”
We invite you to come and interact with Shelton, as well as artists Julia Bottoms and Tricia Butski, during their last weekend in residence at Albright-Knox Northland, July 30–August 1. In order to ensure a safe environment for all, we encourage you to review our Courtesy Code and reserve your visit date and time prior to your arrival.