Helmut Schuster (Director, Schuster Galleries) purchased one of Shepherd’s paintings at SCOPEMIAMI 2006. Subsequently, Schuster invited Shepherd to exhibit at Galerie Schuster, Berlin (in association with ‘CHARLIE SMITH london’). This was a joint exhibition with Julian Lee, although the work was exhibited as two seperate entities.
Supported by research funding from the Arts Institute at Bournemouth (now the Arts University College at Bournemouth), this research took as its starting point the physical and historical remoteness of a specific landscape (Black Tor Copse, Dartmoor), unconditioned by human need; a landscape where life exists because of a symbiotic relationship maintained with others (both animal and vegetable; dead and alive).
The work then explores how we might reconcile a quasi-Darwinist moral relativism – in which nature’s primary purpose is to continue evolving – with the humanist and spiritual/religious desire to build philosophical systems that put a value on existence and provide a purpose that reaches beyond the need for survival. Using shapes that flatten the surface of the painting and employing a vision of the unknown or ‘other’, the work offers an alternative visual language to express such ideas.