Carleen Sheehan

Ice Fall
October 29, 2022   -   January 8, 2023

In her on-going photography projects, Carleen Sheehan documents the natural environment from an intimate perspective, celebrating fragments of natural ephemera:  the movement and density of water, shifts in light, color and atmosphere.  She often works in specific areas over time, allowing a sense of place to unfold within shifting contexts and conditions. Sheehan works with her cameras to draw with light, using them to scan, record, and understand place in a way that is both tactile and incremental. Sheehan is interested in what we see and what we don’t as we move through complex spaces. 

Sheehan’s images from the Arctic were collected during two trips to the region in 2017 and 2018. The first, to the archipelago of Svalbard, Norway, in the High Arctic, was supported by The Arctic Circle Residency Program, a sailing expedition for artists and scientists along the Spitsbergen coast. The following year she traveled to Iceland to work in the Vatnajokull Glacier region. While in Reykjavik, Sheehan consulted with Oddur Sigurdsson at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, who identified the Tyndall formations in her photographs from Svalbard. These images commemorate and document glacial ice as it melts and transforms under the solstice sun.  She is anticipating a journey to Antarctica as part of her participation in the traveling exhibition, Change: The National Geographic Endurance Project, curated by artist Zaria Forman. 

Sheehan’s studio practice incorporates a range of media, including painting, drawing, photography and printmaking.  Images sampled from a variety of sources are synthesized and spliced into densely layered fields that hum with ambient detail and embedded imagery. Woven into the work are references to the heightened impact of climate shifts on both the built and natural worlds.  In these works, Sheehan creates open-ended narratives in a space that is both compressed yet floating, one that reveals itself by unfolding and unraveling over time.

In addition to the Arctic Circle Residency, Sheehan is the recipient of residency fellowships to MacDowell, The Corporation of Yaddo, The Millay Colony for the Arts, and the Bali Purnati Center for the Arts in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.  Sheehan has received grants from New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, as well as Mellon Challenge grants for travel and curatorial projects.  Sheehan’s work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including at Karen McCready Gallery, NY; Jill Newhouse Gallery, NY; Pierogi Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Thompson/Giroux Gallery, Chatham, NY; The Brooklyn Museum; The Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; The Shaker Museum, New Lebanon, NY; The Yerba Buena Art Center, Los Angeles; and Kyoto-Seika University, Kyoto, Japan. 

Carleen Sheehan a member of the Visual Arts faculty at Fordham University in New York.