Shawcross and Strachan recall the historical precedent of the Enlightenment, when artist-scientists set forth into uncharted territories to record and understand natural phenomena. Like such explorers, who created precise representations of newly encountered geological and biological phenomena, these artists document and re-present their journeys through maps, found objects, and material evidence. They also construct vehicles for exploration — a wood rowboat or a glass rocket — that reflect both function and craftsmanship.
Exploration, both physical and artistic, underlies the multi-part sculptural projects of Conrad Shawcross (English, b. 1977) and Tavares Strachan (Bahamian, b. 1979). Each artist employs scientific methods to examine issues of culture, travel, and technology. Using a range of materials and modes of presentation, here each engages and documents a particular geographical location — New York City’s Gowanus Canal and Nassau, Bahamas, respectively. Shawcross sets off on excursions along over-industrialized and polluted waterways, while Strachan adopts astronomical expertise to engage in space exploration.