Lou Sheppard is a Canadian artist working in performance and installation practices. Of settler ancestry, Sheppard was raised on unceded Mi’Kmaq territory, and currently lives in K’jiputuk/Halifax. A graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, their work has been exhibited both in Canada and internationally, and was included in the Antarctic Biennale and the Antarctic Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennial. In 2017 Sheppard was selected for the Emerging Atlantic Artist Award by the Hnatyshyn Foundation to complete a program that composes music based on concentrations of sea ice. In 2018 Sheppard will be a guest artist at the University of Huston, a speaker at the The Antarctic Vision Club at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, and will complete a cross Canada speaking tour as part of the Emerging Atlantic Artist Award. They were recently artist-in-residence at the Cité des Arts in Paris with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and will complete a residency and exhibition with the khyber, and at the Doris McCarthy AIR in Toronto in Spring/Summer 2018.
Sheppard’s recent work has been focused on processes of translation, particularly translations between meaning systems that do not align in conventional ways. Working with a range of source materials (diagnostic criteria, environmental data, field recordings and field samples) they work in a variety of media and disciplines, producing musical compositions, choreographies, drawings and other poetic gestures. These interpretations interrogate the meaning of the source material and point to alternative epistemologies—disrupting empirical modes of assessment. Sheppard’s work is characterized by archival and museological models of exhibition, which allow for the centring of process, often returning to scientific language in the title and descriptions of the work. In its exhibition the work often appears as evidence of process, including schematics, research, and records of performance, inviting engagement with the process itself, as well as the result.
Image credit: Léa Giardin