Shannon Best (she/they)
As a photographer and videographer, my practice combines still and moving image making. Drawing on the natural world, mythology, iconography, psychoanalytic discourse, and gender politics, my work reframes and replaces familiar and conventional concepts or narratives, in order to reveal their qualities and their limits. Using the parameters of the constructed image, I hope to convey the contrivances embedded in our social realities. An environmental vantage exists throughout my work, and has become a large component of my degree show collection: centralising the representations and rituals of death, the mythological figure of Gaia, and the life cycles of the Earth.
Grass Above the Dead
Death is an unknowable-real, yet through ritual and representation it has come to feel controllable: a trope. Born from the myth of Gaia and the symbol of the Uroboros, ‘Grass Above the Dead’ inspects our denial of death: its manifestations within funerary procedure, gendered renditions and social behaviours, alongside its impact for the environment and for the woman burdened with an erotic and passively encoded death. Titled with an excerpt written by the poet, painter and muse of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood – Elizabeth Siddall, the work explores a reclamation of agency within an act of destruction: its inherent tension and its cyclical comfort.
Compiled of images taken within Glasgow, the publication interrogates themes of transition and belonging.
Edition of 100, £22
Formed from questionnaires sent to mothers and their daughters, this moving image piece visualises the conventions of maternity and femininity, and their building conflict; heightened by the mother daughter relationship. Dependence, separation and mutual understanding underpin the piece’s narrative, which appropriates the biological language of mitosis and the iconic biblical imagery of Mother Mary to reveal the interstice between the primal and the social, and the heritage carried within this innate bond.