2017 DeHaan Artist of Distinction
Shaun Causey, an Indianapolis native, was encouraged by her family to pursue art. She grew up making collages, drawings, paintings, and assembling arrays of objects. Though a respected visual artist now, her professional arts career started at Butler University’s piano and voice program; there was no visual arts program at the time. Frustrated by the lack of formal training, Shawn Causey in her late 20s enrolled at Herron School of Art + Design, where she began playing with vertical color harmonies and rhythms in paintings and collage. This exploration personifies her current practice: large scale, immersive, multicolor string installations that appear to flicker as the viewer moves.
In an effort to see how this multicolor string study could become more encompassing, Causey proposed the “Infinity Chamber”, a fully surrounding, immersive corridor that will envelop the viewer in a long passage of color harmonies, commanding full attention and taking the viewer deeper into their sensory experience. Causey notes, “I have often seen the impulse to take selfies overrule the impulse to go deeper into the visual experience. Creating an enclosed chamber that commands attention, focusing the senses on the visual and spatial experience, may increase the chances that viewers will more fully engage with the work, regardless of their usual inclinations.”
“The DeHaan Artist of Distinction Award has helped me relax and think more broadly about my work,” says Causey. She acknowledges the amount of time and energy that goes into creating new work, which the DeHaan Award has helped alleviate. The award program has allowed her more time for strategizing, planning, and testing, experimenting with new possibilities for delivering a pure color experience to the viewer.