Intent

Drawing on my experiences of years spent as a practitioner of land-based rituals, this work is my co-creation with environments in Iceland, Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica, and rural parts of the United States. My performance "creatures" are emissaries or conduits that showcase a more-than-human relationship with the world and model the self as a set of relations--earth-based, cosmic, transpecies, techno-cultural, and fluid. My process tends to involve camouflaging my body; merging with or dissolving into a place or space--perhaps becoming more like an animal or plant, as a way of intercepting lost power and destabilizing static notions of the “female” body and of the natural realm. The drawings/paintings reveal aspects of nonvisible, incorporeal realms and also serve as oracular blueprints for performances.

The performative objects I create often involve antiquated things that were used in former eras, especially by women: objects that revolt against former utilitarian and decorative expectations and take on new hybrid roles in the context of the work. In performances I am investigating the potential of ceremonial action to activate an environment by tapping into a specific moment in time and marking it with conscious intentions, emotions, and actions. I am invested in the “bodying forth” of underlying emotions and energies and using body language, vocal sounds and costuming as ways of reviving a capacity for beauty within a disfigured landscape and nonhuman natural world.

Regarding my fiber artworks:

"Textile handiwork frequently serves as a metaphor for the creation of something other than cloth, whether it is a story, a set of relations, or a worldview. It is through the tropes of weaving, stitching, and knitting, for instance, that we communicate the complexity of our experiences, our relationships, and our desires; in short, we often have recourse to such images in order to make sense of ourselves and others. That these textile metaphors originate in tasks traditionally carried out by women worldwide is not insignificant for Shana Robbins. By incorporating lace and embroidery into her recent artwork, the artist celebrates sewn handiwork as an expression of female creativity, collectivity, and spiritual power. In her performances, the visual syntax of enlacing and stitching combines with Robbins’s own bodily gestures in the celebration of a female genealogy, one that reverberates across time and space. Here patterns are invoked, repeated, and reworked into seemingly endless configurations."


-Susan Richmond, Art historian and author