Cris Worley Fine Arts continues to promote strong voices in contemporary art with, Just the Two of Us, a two-person exhibition featuring two and three- dimensional works by husband and wife, Shannon Cannings and William Cannings. The exhibition marks the fifth year anniversary of Cris Worley Fine Arts with a reception for the artists Saturday, September 12th from 6 – 8pm, and runs through October 10th!
This dynamic, young art duo met while working on their individual Master degrees at Syracuse University in the 1990’s. Since then they have exhibited their formally harmonious work together frequently, including a recent two-person exhibition titled, Divided by a Common Language at the Louise Hopkins Center in Lubbock and Espoused, a group exhibition featuring the work of “partnered” couples at the Art Museum of Southeast Texas in Beaumont.
Shannon Cannings is known for her pop inspired, realist paintings that render the sweetness of childhood with a sour note. Plastic toy guns are brightly painted in a delectable palette reminiscent of a nostalgic and forbidden hard candy. The ominous undertones of these works question the innocence of childhood games, highlighting their tendency to normalize violence at a young age. “The names of the pieces are things that I think about being a happy veneer for something that carries a great consequence,” says Cannings. “Like Friendly Fire, that sounds like a game you play with a hose in your backyard; it doesn’t sound as horrible as it really is.”
William Cannings’ work often invokes a sense of wit by using hard steel to create “soft” subjects: soft-edge geometric forms, abstract conglomerates, and sometimes representational figures, that look like they were made of malleable plastic. Cannings spent time in his youth working in automotive shops where he familiarized himself with the tools and equipment needed to support his practice and satisfy his interests. Today, the artist has mastered an innovative process of working with flat steel by literally heating and inflating it. Each finished sculpture still looks weightless despite its medium, creating a dichotomy of hard and soft. The seductive forms and visual trickery in Cannings’ work make it provocative, seductive, and demanding to be touched.
Shannon Cannings was raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and went on to receive her Master of Fine Arts Degree in Painting from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. Shannon is currently an adjunct instructor in the Foundation Program at the School of Art at Texas Tech.
William Cannings came to the US in the early 1990’s from Manchester, England and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University. He went on to complete a Master of Fine Arts from Syracuse University. Cannings exhibits frequently across the United States including in New York, Miami, New Mexico and Texas, among others. He was one of four artists chosen for a solo exhibition at the 2009 Texas Biennial. His works are seen publically in the permanent collection of the new William P. Clements, Jr. Hospital at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX, and the new Hall Sculpture Walk in downtown Dallas. Likewise, he is featured in the canonical, Texas Artists’ Today book. Concurrent to his active studio practice, he is also a Professor of Sculpture at Texas Tech University. In 2004, he helped to reinvigorate the Texas Sculpture Symposium, a brand of the Sculpture Network of Texas, where he continues today as an active member.