“Affinity,” an exhibition by Macomb-based husband and wife Ian and Natalie Shelly, is on display through Feb. 10 at the Len G. Everett Gallery in Monmouth College’s Hewes Library.
Natalie Shelly, who was previously an adjunct instructor at Monmouth from 2014 through 2016, is the ceramics coordinator and educator for the Macomb Park District Ceramics Studio. Ian Shelly is an assistant professor of art at Western Illinois University, where he teaches ceramics and 3D design.
A reception for the artists will be held at 3 p.m. Feb. 10 in the Everett Gallery, with a gallery talk at 3:30 p.m.
The exhibit features two different styles of artwork by the couple, as well as a single collaborative piece.
Natalie’s art is minimalistic and calming, focusing on the “tactility of things in a pleasurable way,” while Ian’s is gritty and disarrayed, focusing on the “juxtaposition of rough and dark.” Though the Shellys’ styles are quite different, the exhibit comes together fluidly through both contrast between the artwork and shared interests between the artists.
“I think our work comes together naturally because we do, as well,” Ian said. “That may seem cheesy, but we share a lot of the same interests in shape and form, color and texture, and attention to details.”
The couple has been working alongside one another since they began sharing a studio space in 2008, while they were both pursuing their MFA degrees in ceramics at the University of Missouri.
“The works are direct records that denote our movement through life,” Natalie said. “They capture our creative interests that are inevitably tangled with the life we shared together.”
Located on the second floor of Hewes Library, the Everett Gallery is open during regular library hours: 7:30 a.m.-midnight Monday-Thursday; 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; noon-midnight Sunday.