McShane’s work involves a language of reductive abstraction and an off-kilter kind of conceptualism; elements often occupy a strange and hovering kind of space, with multiple, implied ground planes.
Though rooted in drawing, her work often takes various experimental forms—sculpture, painting, textile, mobile—in an effort to deconstruct a draw-erly language focused on space signifiers, through both convention and invention. Color schemes often tie together seemingly disparate components. For example, her long-standing love of reggae red, green, yellow and black colors, whose protest music and vivid color scheme marked a pivotal point of transformation in her youth—vivid for its associations and as a color scheme of opposites and contrasts in perfect balance; an atmospheric perspective formula of blacks into grays and hazy washes often stations one at the foreground in much of her work, ;beyond are areas of hovering forms, text or canvas collage elements across wide open space. If thought occupies space, the work seems to give form to some sense of that fleeting placeness.
McShane’s drawings, paintings and painted objects often act together in odd configurations which might include corner and floor pieces; the gallery often becomes a strange tableau of small ceramic, abject grid-forms; irregular-shaped frames; furniture-like forms, and paintings and drawings containing the distant, abstracted landscapes. She would stress that she retains a belief from Modernism and Conceptualism--that her work stakes out a position—not only are they drawings and paintings, they also represent ideas about drawing and painting (indebted to a paraphrase of art critic, art historian, poet Barry Schwabsky’s words about contemporary drawing and painting).
McShane was born in Cleveland, Ohio and spent years living in New York, Philadelphia, Detroit and now lives in Fayetteville, TX, equidistant between Houston and Austin. She graduated from the BFA program at New York State College of Art and Design at Alfred University and the MFA program at Cranbrook Academy of Art. She teaches drawing and painting at Texas State University.
She has exhibited her drawings, drawing installations and objects at Bill Davenport Optical Projects in Houston, Sofa Gallery and Big Medium Gallery in Austin, in the Drawing Biennial at SCA Rogers Gallery in San Antonio, the Brooklyn Museum, The Drawing Center in NY, Weatherspoon Museum in NC, Aldrich Museum in CT., Paul Kotula Projects and Susanne Hilberry Gallery and Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit in Detroit,MI , Carroll and Sons in Boston.MA, among many other venues. Her work is included in private and public collections both nationally and internationally, including the Sally and Wynn Kramarsky Collection, Fidelity, Entemann Collection Germany and James Rosenquist.
She has had artist residencies at MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, Cites des Artes in Paris, Frans Masereel Centrum in Kasterlee, Belgium, the Millay Colony in Austerlitz, NY, VCCA in Virginia, and Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Ireland.