Photography Looking inward with collages by Shane Wheatcroft
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Looking inward with collages by Shane Wheatcroft

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Giorgia Massari
Shane Wheatcroft | Collater.al

Vintage bookcases, flea markets and family bookshelves provide the starting point for the works of British artist Shane Wheatcroft, who makes collages with a retro feel. Wheatcroft began his career as a painter, but in recent years he has focused exclusively on collage and assemblage, inspired in particular by artist John Stezaker. Wheatcroft’s works are conceptual and surrealist. The artist draws from his paper archive and carefully chooses the images that will create the final composition. He often starts with a portrait whose silhouette and hairline he retains. The face is removed and replaced with other images, mostly domestic scenes or architectural elements. Interestingly, the only feature of the face that the artist retains are the eyes, which are incorporated into the “interior” scene. In this way, the eye creates a link between the external and internal subject, to represent a memory, thought or dream of the protagonist figure. Sometimes the subject seems to recall past events, such as a lost love or a traumatic scene, and at other times seems lost in thoughts or daydreams.

The eye serves as a window to the soul and mind, as it often did in Surrealist works. Artists such as Dalì and Magritte included it in their works almost obsessively, think of the famous works Persistence of Memory (Dalì, 1931) and The False Mirror (Magritte, 1928). For the Surrealists, in fact, the eye represented a revealing tool, a window to invisible things and gateway to another dimension. Similarly, in Shane Wheatcroft’s works, the eye can be interpreted as an observing element, as a “Big brother” controlling our every movement and action, underscoring the culture of surveillance to which we are subjected.
With multiple interpretative possibilities, Shane Wheatcroft’s works retain a vintage aesthetic that is both contemporary and current, prompting the viewer to imagination and introspection.

Shane Wheatcroft | Collater.al
Shane Wheatcroft | Collater.al
Shane Wheatcroft | Collater.al
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Written by Giorgia Massari
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