Daniel Shea is an artist based in New York City. Recent monographs include 43-35 10th Street, Kodoji Press (2018) and Ex Nihilo, In Other Words Press (2019). He has exhibited internationally including the Foam Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago and Vava Gallery, Milan. He has been a resident artist at Light Work, Syracuse. He will be exhibiting in the United States pavilion of the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale. His commissioned work has appeared in The New Yorker, Fantastic Man, and Re-Edition. He is represented by Andrew Rafacz Gallery (Chicago) and Webber Gallery (London).
In what ways does nature inspire or inform your work?
In the way that it obfuscates more than it clarifies, it lightly inspires. I’m trying to find a subject, which is like trying to see the trees for the forest, it makes no sense. Nature resists, with complete indifference, coherence. But in its totality, it’s nothing but coherence. I think language, learning, striving, these things are the problem.
What does it mean to you to be part of a thriving ecosystem?
Very little, I’m too detached from a type of pure ecology and I’m bored by anything that begs me to substitute rationality for mysticism (they both seem wrong to me). I think the idea of “thriving” in this context is a romantic myth, maybe even a coping mechanism. We need fantasy to find a position in all this, and I really think there’s nothing but incidents. I don’t think this is cynical, it just is, and in a way, there’s so much beauty in detachment.