I am inspired by items discovered and uncovered in unexpected places. From discarded gouging rods scattered outside a bridal shop to coins unearthed on a beach, currency distant in both time and origin. Objects generate wonder about their beginnings.
From paste gems scattered after a broken piñata in the park and burned photos blown down a lane to a bag of small gears dropped outside a pizzeria – everything is collected.
For as long as I can remember, I haven’t kept my head in the clouds but more at street level, eyes always searching for items that others throw away. I am especially drawn to found photos, with their enigmatic subjects and moments captured in time.
My themes are sometimes playful, sometimes political, and often detour to the past. Working with mixed media takes the non-valuable to the in-valuable. I am motivated by scenes and events as near as the North American neighborhoods I’ve lived and as far as the European landscapes I’ve toured.
I’m frequently asked how I know when a piece is finished. That answer is easy – the objects and elements tell me when the piece is done.
But. The more difficult question is how does a project begin? The reveal process is more challenging; themes circle me for weeks, months, like prodding buzzards. The only way to quiet the outside noise is to surround myself in my cache and colors where the stories will unfold.
The preferred choice of ‘canvas’ is usually wood boards. Paint, draw, destruct, forage and reconstruct, in varied order. My latest work is an exploration and compilation of cast-offs. When ready, the objects speak until each becomes insight for creations with diverse media, elements, colors, textures and stories.
Welcome to Big Cache Art where found objects find new narratives.
Acrylic & wax paint, paper, metals on wood board. 30 x 20 x .635 cm (12 x 8 x .25 in.) From A through Z, Shannon Kernaghan’s Writer Brain attempts to decipher the questions that follow us through the ages. When the person owns books – a symbol for limitless knowledge – the brain increases its chance of unlocking answers.
Acrylic & wax paint, photo, paper, metal on wood board. 30 x 20 x .635 cm (12 x 8 x .25 in.) From early roots of ‘home opera’ to current home recording studios, Sound Cache represents an innovative sound leap into the contemporary, from vintage black & white images to the blue skies of technology.
Acrylic & wax paint, paper on wood board. 30 x 20 x .635 cm (12 x 8 x .25 in.) Wheels to wings – the lure of adventure has attracted thrill-seekers through the ages. The spinning motion of greens and yellows create limitless skies in Shannon Kernaghan’s mixed media from her Big Cache series.
Acrylic & wax paint, photo, metals, paste gems on wood board. 30 x 20 x .635 cm (12 x 8 x .25 in.) That stop-time sandwiched between the action and the shutter click: impromptu photos with cats reveal tender images set to a concrete wall. Kernaghan softens the environment by building a field of greens and golds that evoke nature and nurture.
Acrylic & wax paint, photo, metals, paste gems on wood board. 30 x 20 x .635 cm (12 x 8 x .25 in.) Where viewer becomes voyeur – peek inside the model’s tableaux while taking a step back in time. With the use of metals, gems and micro beading, subtle greenery creates the perfect cover.
Acrylic & wax paint, paper, metal on wood board. 30 x 20 x .635 cm (12 x 8 x .25 in.) Anxiety and peril. Science and space. Shannon Kernaghan uses headlines that incite fear and alter lives. Banners torn from newspapers announce protests and violence that contrast the space race. Swirling smears of red, blue and rust represent the underlying maelstrom that aptly defined politics in the 1960s.
Mixed media on wood board. 30 x 20 x .635 cm (12 x 8 x .25 in.) Opposing tracks crowd a backdrop of western migration, set with overlapping archival records and vintage photos. Despite sprawling deserts and ranges traveled by settlers, Kernaghan’s multiple trails serve as a reminder of the territorial clashes and uncertain futures for those brave enough to make the journey.
Acrylic & wax paint, paper, coin, metal on wood board. 30 x 20 x .635 cm (12 x 8 x .25 in.) From the Meiji Shrine of Tokyo to Times Square in New York City, Shannon Kernaghan’s merchant marine uncle mailed postcards to her Canadian home for several decades. A constant reminder of the vast world outside the artist’s narrow prairie window whetted her desires – to explore foreign places and meet people featured on those postcards.
Acrylic & wax paint, paper, metal on wood board. 30 x 20 x .635 cm (12 x 8 x .25 in.) Shannon Kernaghan incorporates the haunting image of a woman’s face in a burned picture found blowing down a lane. Contrasted by the tableaux of well-dressed women, one setting is relaxed and pampered while the other is agitated and gritty. Both backdrops are frozen in time, a pause that signifies an ever- temporary state of being.
Acrylic, metallic spray & wax paint, paper on wood board. 60 x 40 x .635 cm (24 x 16 x .25 in.) Growing up in the Canadian prairies, Shannon Kernaghan had wide open spaces with room to dream although lacked access to waterways, a frequent theme in her art. In Voyage En Mer, the artist merges ocean voyages with map-as-sail. Kernaghan’s ship navigates to distant shores through a turbulent sea of rich blues and greens. Hope is embodied by a brilliant sun overhead.
Mixed media on canvas. 25 x 20 cm (10 x 8 in) Gouging rods found outside the door of a bridal shop are the inspiration behind Kernaghan’s Weld – a symbolic marriage of metal and mind. Delicate silver and sapphire gears represent the lace of a wedding dress while dark metals and burlap-formed tracks embody the less elegant road ahead.
Acrylic & wax paint, paper, photo, metals on wood board. 30 x 20 x .635 cm (12 x 8 x .25 in.) Where colourful childhood whimsy meets present day marketing ploys designed to hook young minds early with toy-like products as corporate mascots. Shannon Kernaghan juxtaposes a recognizable symbol for fast food with her own photo as young child.
Acrylic & wax paint, paper, coins on wood board. 30 x 30 x .635 cm (12 x 12 x .25 in.) The boundary between adventure and risk is blurred when wanderlust takes hold! Kernaghan reveals a wayfaring spirit in her work, buoyed by shimmering gold-green waters and a far-reaching blue sky. Coins signal both distant geography and envisioned treasure – all within reach.
From a fusion of club jammin and electronica to country and rock – all find a home in my mixed music wheelhouse.