Shanna Waddell: chapter two: the greenhouses of s/heness society
May 30, 2024–July 19, 2024

chapter two: the greenhouses of s/heness society

a shelter from severe elements and reflection of nature’s ideal form, our greenhouses are sanctuaries where a delicate dream of utopia is cultivated and protected from harsh realities of the outside world. peeking into our stained-glass gazebos, a table’s surface presents bounties of fruits and pottery. panes of glass filter in the sun’s rays, creating a suitable environment for flora to thrive— so too shanna waddell bestows us with an abundance of literature, history, inspiration, and supplies to support s/heness society’s evolving growth.

we gaze out at the lands of s/heness society through rose-colored glass; peaceful and simple scenes of rustic charm envelop us. though not without strife. our warm lens of harmony was forged from the missteps and shortcomings of forefathers. we study past charismatic leaders of legend, noting their radical rejection of status-quo, defeats, tragic flaws, blind spots, and overreaching aspirations.

their stories guide us. cautioning against systems of exploitation. in response, s/heness has formed a convivial and interdependent society. while now pleasant and quiet, we are conscious of human drama, power struggles, greed, jealousy, dissatisfaction, resentment—frictions we understand not as obstacles to be eradicated, but conditions we practice navigating together.

our name, s/heness society, conjoins and multiplies, everybody’s invited. we study the slowness of history look at paintings by bonnard, matisse, hilma af klint, horace pippin, vuillard, munch. trusting the powers of generosity and seduction, we paint our own surroundings; a basket of harvested fruit in the far-out colors of our greenhouse light. we work with neon oil paints, only available in the last decade, tocreate the surreal shades found in our greenhouses, while observing s/heness in a specific time and place in art history.

studying, playing, observing, and creating becomes one fluid act, filling our days. whether harvesting from greenhouse gardens or foraging untamed land, sumptuous overgrowth of apple trees, hollyhock buds, cherry blossoms, honeysuckle, and strawberries float to flagrantly frame our bodies. like a greenhouse protecting hard-won peace and beauty by cultivating fertile conditions for growth, s/heness is also a refuge—a lush haven of hope housed in the sheltering vision of our creator, shanna waddell.

s/heness society is an ever-expanding world-narrative envisioned by Shanna Waddell. Encompassing the entirety of Waddell's artistic output, scenes of s/heness society unfold with each new exhibition, describing an alternative society guided by enlightened socio-ecological relations.

–Marie Heilich