2015-2016 Exnihilo Adult Artists-In-Residence


Robert Dane Shaw

Senior Artist


The senior fellow in the 2015-16 Exnihilo Residency program, Dr. Robert Dane Shaw has a bio the spans several decades, educational institutions, affiliation, international commissions and a diversity of techniques and styles that will take your breath away. Download the VITA shaw.pdf about him to get a greater picture of his extensive experience.


My artwork draws heavily on the past in referencing motifs of other cultures and times, building upon my professional career in archaeology.  Cross cultural referencing and appropriation is a well worn path among artists, otherwise “art history” would not hold an appropriately ubiquitous place in every art school curriculum.  I deal mostly with prehistory, only occasionally reaching into the ethnographic period for inspiration.  In looking at my body of art work, critically astute viewers will find a visually subtle second level of cross-cultural borrowing underlying the readily apparent forms and motifs.  That second level originates in purposeful digression from the chronological, sequential development of materials and technology.  I often make tools required to produce my objects.  Using tool forms from the past brings a differing ethic and aesthetic.  Occasionally the tools and their embellishment simply become the product.  They are good and sufficient unto themselves.

What artists make is coevolved with the availability of tools and materials.  What is available at a particular place or during a particular time is limiting - and so it is today.  Artistic innovation is often an offshoot of newly available tools, technology and materials developed in industrial contexts – and some would say a divergence from practical functionality.  That is why my tools sometimes get decorated beyond functional needs, a characteristic of tools often, but not invariably, found throughout human history.

But I am not stuck in the past or limited to using objects made by others essentially as “found” objects to be incorporated by simply having a “picture frame” placed around them.  I often but inconsistently integrate materials and technology across vast expanses to time.  The precious may be mundane, as well as the mundane made precious.

Robert Dane Shaw

Robert at Exnihilo residency  exhibit opening, Ex Post Facto Metallicus, July 3, 2015.

Adult Artists-In-Residence


Anya Pinchuk

Heather Schramm

Robert Dane Shaw


Noha Nader