March 2009

Daniel Shea

[artist website]

Daniel Shea’s two bodies of work, “Removing Mountains” and “Coal River”, are a survey of the social, political, and cultural implications of the coal industry’s practice of mountaintop removal in the Appalachian Mountains. The work is a social documentary narrative heavily influenced by contemporary critical thinking about visual culture, the influence of the image in the West, and the strong historical influence of the landscape. Shea intends the work to encourage inquiry into American power dynamics, big industry, and the environment.

“In the summer of 2007 I began shooting a body of work examining the coal industry in Appalachia. What started as an interest in the modern coal mining process known as mountaintop removal quickly evolved into an extensive study of the social/political institutions surrounding these practices. Above all else, I became interested in surveying the cultural implications of extracting coal from Appalachian Mountains. What I found over the course of the trip was that these coal mining operations had rapidly developed into one of the most destructive and pervasive forms of modern industry in the world.”

Daniel Shea is a photographer and educator based out of Chicago. He is working on publishing a monograph of Removing Mountains, and continues to show the work in various group and solo shows in the United States and abroad. His work appears in numerous private and public collections. His next major project will take place in the Spring of 2009, and will take an involved look at Southern Ohio’s people and landscape.