Everything I Never Told You: Secrets Too Beautiful To Keep

September 29-November 20, 2016
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Gallery 51

Skyline #3 Shelley Chamberlin, 2016  Charcoal on paper

Skyline #3
Shelley Chamberlin, 2016
Charcoal on paper

In Everything I Never Told You: Secrets Too Beautiful To Keep, Shelley Chamberlin and Michelle Daly explore themes of vulnerability, intimacy, relationality, nostalgia, memory, disruption, determination, absurdist humor, and hope. As longtime friends, artistic collaborators, and conceptual partners, the two artists have worked in tandem; their artistic trajectories gapping and converging, illuminating spaces and places for each to delve more deeply into their individual inquiries. This exhibition maps these moments, highlighting intersections and commonalities.

“Conversation is the vehicle for change. We test our ideas. We hear our own voice in a concert with another. And inside those pauses of listening, we approach new territories of thought. A good argument, call it a discussion, frees us. Words fly out of our mouths like threatened birds. Once released, they may never return. If they do, they have chosen home and the bird-worms are calmed into an ars poetica.”     Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds

Chamberlin and Daly’s Postcard Project is a visual artifact of this play of ideas in conversation between the two artists over the last year as the exhibition has developed. The postcards are numbered so that you may follow along in the chronology of their shared moments of exploration and dialog.



In Everything I Never Told You: Secrets Too Beautiful To Keep, the artists grapple with their individual and collective relationships with placemaking and home, ultimately reckoning with the very nature of vulnerability and risk. In Skyline #1, 2, and 3, Chamberlin plays with disruption and manipulation of space, using glitches in digital photography as source material for richly layered charcoal drawings. She pulls together traditional and contemporary ideas and methodologies of image-making, creating imagery that is simultaneously dislocating and elegiac, offering a new vantage point from which to understand selective erasure and passage of time. Similarly, in Re-imagined Landscape, Daly disassembles and reassembles maps and patterns, creating new and foreign landscapes. Both the play of scale and the juxtaposition of imagery tease the viewer into an alternate reality, an imagined space re-formed by the artist’s heart and hand. In this way, both artists are merging familiar and unfamiliar territories, manipulating visual cues of location and dislocation.

The artworks on view in this exhibition play with revelation and concealment. They are an invitation into the quiet places, the small daily intimacies, the hundreds upon thousands of whispered secrets—secrets too beautiful to keep.