December 1st, 2014

“Here and There” with Shannon Hinkle

by Andrew Christenberry

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What do Perth, Australia and Indianapolis, IN have in common? Aside from the shared language, the 11,000 miles separating Indy from Perth carry with them at least as many differences spanning from cultural heritage to physical landscapes. In these differences dances a great divide, at least as vast as the Pacific, which I have seen so gloriously bridged through the work of Indianapolis artist Shannon Hinkle and her show “Here and There”.

As I sat down with Shannon in her studio, I did so with a sort of reluctance that only comes when the sobering taste of goodbye begins to form on the tongue. You see, this time next year Shannon, along with her family, will be enjoying the warmth of a southern hemisphere summer, all the while getting used to calling Perth, Australia “home”. While Shannon and her family go willingly to Perth, this move to other side of the world is bittersweet, and reminds me of a truth that runs to our core: we weren’t made for goodbyes.

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As I have come to find out since talking with Shannon, we take where we have been with us to where we are going. In a sort of superimposed way, we learn to love our present in the same ways we loved our past. We take the “here” with us “there”. “In this body of work I wanted to bring Indianapolis into the context we are moving into,” she explained, “I also wanted this to become an opportunity to say goodbye to our city because it’s a place that we have loved for so long. Indy is a place that has taught us what community is, and the potential of taking that to a new city is really exciting for us.”

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Through our conversation I came to realize that Shannon is a woman of symbolism. Her uncanny ability to take her context in and give it meaning is what makes her work so wondrously meaningful. What I mean to say is that her work has a unique depth brought on through her way of processing personal experience. In this body of work, and through a visit to Perth, Shannon has literally superimposed places in Indy meaningful to her and her family onto the places in Perth that promise the same sort of meaningfulness, and vice versa. Blended together in a congruous symbolic symmetry, and created through a plethora of media, her work features the personally iconic images of Indy such as the lampposts of Woodruff Place, and the sanctuary of Redeemer Presbyterian Church portrayed within photographs of Perth. The viewer sees in Shannon’s future something like a memory of her past, but more at the same time.

“In this work I began to think, ‘what if I could take these places with me?’ The idea for the show came from my desire to have the physical things I love in Indianapolis with the photos of the places that we will grow to love in Perth.” Shannon said. Complete with aboriginal-inspired designs and dot work, Shannon honors her family’s call to cultural renewal in Perth as they prepare to share what they have learned about community through their time in Indy.

Shannon Hinkle’s last show in Indianapolis entitled “Here and There” opens this Friday, December 5 and hangs through December 26.