Lou Sheppard

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Lou Sheppard

Lou Sheppard is a Canadian artist working in interdisciplinary audio, performance and installation based practice. Of settler ancestry, Sheppard was raised on unceded Mi'Kmaq territory in rural Nova Scotia. Sheppard first studied theatre at Concordia University in Montreal, and then graduated with a BFA in Interdisciplinary studies from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. He has also studied English Literature and Education. Sheppard now lives on the South Shore of Nova Scotia/ Mi’kma’ki.

Sheppard’s practice is research driven and site specific, developing as particular projects or iterations of projects in response to a particular location. To create opportunities for sustained engagement with a place he often works in artist residencies. In the past few years he has participated in residencies at Cite des Arts in Paris, at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in Brooklyn, New York, and at the Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta. Sheppard has held the position of artist in residence in the Faculty of Education at McGill University, The Doris McCarthy Artist in Residence Program in Scarborough, Ontario, at Struts Gallery and Faucet New Media Centre in Sackville, New Brunswick and with the City of Richmond in BC.

Sheppard’s artistic research reflects his background in critical theory and social activism. He is interested in languages, both as systems of notation and communication, as well as systems that structure and enact power. By looking to authoritative texts like environmental data, diagnostic criteria, government policy, and dictionary definitions, his work attempts to make these systems and structures of power legible. Using processes of metaphor, translation, semiotic shifting, and close reading, his work is evidenced through written, graphic and visual scores. The performance of these scores often leads him to collaborate with communities and with other artists, including musicians, visual artists and performing artists.

Sheppard is transmasculine, and uses he/him pronouns. His work often starts from acts of queer attention: looking at binaries, edges and boundaries and permeable and flexible, questioning dominant and hegemonic narratives, and considering how these narratives have been constructed.

Sheppard has exhibited work across Canada, notably in the first Toronto Biennial at the Toronto Sculpture Garden in Toronto, Ontario, at Simon Fraser University and at Access Gallery in Vancouver, BC at the Khyber Centre for the Arts in Halifax, NS, at PAVED Arts in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and at the University of Moncton in Moncton, New Brunswick. He participated in the first Antarctic Biennale (Antarctica) and the Antarctic Pavilion in Venice, Italy. Sheppard has given artist talks and workshops throughout Canada, with the Toronto Biennial, at the University of Toronto, University of Saskatchewan, Access Gallery in Vancouver, Axneo 7 in Gatineau, Open Space in Victoria BC, NSCAD University in Halifax and at at the Banff Centre in Banff Alberta, as well as at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, Russia. In 2017 Sheppard received the Emerging Atlantic Artist Award which recognizes a young artist from the Atlantic region with the potential to make a significant contribution to the arts in Canada. Sheppard has been longlisted for the Sobey Art Awards in 2018, 2020 and 2021, and was an International Residency Recipient from the Sobey Art Foundation in 2018. In 2021 Sheppard will produce a collaborative exhibition with Will Robinson for the Dalhousie Arts Centre in Halifax, as well as a collaborative exhibition with Laura Pold for Titanik Gallery in Turku, Finland. In January 2022 Sheppard will present a solo exhibition with Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.