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Building Atmosphere: An Art Portfolio by Sydney Shen

A sculptural artwork made from metal[DATA EXPUNGED], steel, aluminum

Artist Sydney Shen creates room-sized installations and smaller, sculptural works that focus on asking questions and building atmosphere.

A sculpture made with a chair and some ropeMidnight Game, chair, rope, honey, doorknob, wax


I love the way that Shen incorporates fine details in her work. While each work is constructed in a manner that emphasizes the finer points, the artist goes to interesting lengths to reward the viewer for looking up close, or spending more than a passing glance contemplating her works. Small moments of text are embroidered in textile elements, or stamped into stones, ensuring that the only way to fully experience one of Shen’s works is to walk all the way around it, bend down, and examine it from every angle.


The variation in Shen’s chosen materials and scale is also quite interesting. Some works are self-contained and sit easily in the center of a gallery space, while other works form full spaces and experiences in their own right -- some of these pieces remind me installations by Rob Chavasse.

A detail of a sculpture by Sydney ShenThirst is the Mother of Corvid Ingenuity (Perry Index of Aesopica #390), punitive boot, rocks engraved with names of rocks on Mars, erector set, clock movements, ribbon, water, bucket

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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