Connor Shields

About Connor Shields

Connor Shields’ practice is an enquiry into the nature of maleness through using dichotomous materials such as steel, knitted wool and fabrics. An investigation of these industrial materials and craft techniques realises a visually powerful dynamic in which ideas of ‘working-class masculinity’ are explored. Originating from Middlesbrough, Shields’ work develops as a response to experiences of a post-industrial upbringing. The process of making is explorative, combining often contrasting objects which develop a sense of tension within the work. With subtlety, the work takes issue with the adopted roles that we easily accept and assume, allowing the viewer to unpick these perceptions.

Connor’s piece in Material Matters, ‘Amongst the Ruins’ has been made using concrete, metal reinforcement bars, yarn, rubber, polystyrene, and expanding foam.

Recent works have been influenced by a text by Jonathan Prior titled Amongst The Ruins, looking at areas of urban ruin and how they previously acted as space for the exploration of gay identity when it was illegal, or unaccepted, to be gay. I’m also heavily influenced by assemblages of materials that I see laid around construction and demolition sites. They feel sculptural to me. This text, as well as these assemblages, inform the materials that I use and the shapes that occur within my sculpture.

A visit to connor's studio


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