Visualizations of Contemporary Paranoia: Shelley Reedâ€™s A Curious Nature
June 8, 2017 - Candice Bancheri
Paranoia has a way of creeping up the spine and burrowing into the brain. Like a tick in the woods waiting for the right moment to latch onto its next host, it feeds—gorging itself on suspicions of falsehoods, naivety, and manipulated truths.
Digesting Shelley Reed’s paintings felt a lot like discovering that tick on the back of your leg hours after a jaunt through the woods. With the utmost conviction, the tick quietly clung to its chosen host, fastened itself within the layers of fleshy epidermis, and fed until its swollen body pulsed with excess. Fortunately, Reed’s paintings do not carry Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. However, they infect the viewer with something much more revealing of its source and equally uncomfortable to contract. Contextualized by the looming crescendo of the information age, Reed’s exhibited work at the Fitchburg Art Museum begged the question: are curiosity and paranoia two sides of the same coin?