Stan Shellabarger’s performance and book work addresses issues relating to the body. He often takes mundane, everyday activities like breathing, walking and writing to extreme measures in endurance-based performance work: walking from sunrise to sunset on solstices and equinoxes, counting every breath he takes in an 8 hour time span, filling notebook after notebook with his signature.
Shellabarger’s work amplifies the traces humans leave on the earth, as in his walking performances, or on objects, as in his Lightswitch and Mousepad books. The repetitive nature and long durations of Shellabarger’s performances lead to massive accumulations of marks and residues that record discrete units of time and space, elegant testimonies to the ephemeral and transient nature of life. The repetition of activity is necessary so that the extremely subtle marks left by these activities emerge as clearly visible artistic interventions. Despite their laborious process of transcription, the marks left by his performances are, like the body itself, ephemeral and transient in nature.