Artist Shawn Bush grew up in Detroit, Michigan – a city whose civic history and geographic location has profoundly influenced the way he thinks about space within the American sociopolitical landscape. Bush is interested in over-built systems, failing icons and crumbled mythologies. He earned a MFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and BFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. In 2016 Bush was the recipient for the T.C Colley grant for excellence in lens-based media. His debut artist book A Golden State won first prize in the handmade category at the 2016 Lucie Photobook Prize in New York City, is included in several noted collections, including the Griffin Museum of Photography in Boston, MA and was published by Skylark Editions in 2018. Bush is the owner, designer and binder at Dais Books and Professor of Photography at Casper College.
Between Gods and Animals
As a male growing up in the wake of Detroit’s automobile fueled economy, aspects of an antiquated and fleeting definition of maleness have been invariably present in my life. Across years of observation and membership, the doctrine was uniform. How the performance manifests or displays itself does not matter, assumed supremacy at all costs is the objective. Between Gods and Animals looks at the communities who choose to disregard the growing seismic shift in American gender equality.
Inspired by personal experience, the confluence of villain’s and hero’s in 1960’s Revisionist Western cinema and present day revelations, Between Gods and Animals is a survey of the heterosexual white male’s endless pursuit to sustain power and inability to live by their own set of codes. In a culture where patriarchal structures are beginning to erode, the struggle to maintain influence, control and liberties of yesteryear remain constant for their imagined empire. The dismantling of historical icons and everyday definitions of virility mark a timely subversion to the recognized and outdated socio-political hierarchies that govern Western culture.
Comparing historical standards of ordinary masculine conduct to its contemporary counterpart, the work reflects a nation in flux. One whose ideology is being reinterpreted, questioned and displaced after centuries of ruthlessly establishing itself as an unequivocal superior.
To view more of Shawn Bush’s work please visit his website.