Shelby Head was born in 1956 in Bronxville, NY. Her studio and home are in Madison, CT. She received an M.F.A. at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and an M.A. in sculpture at Adams State University in Colorado. Head has extensive technical experience working as a professional mold maker and wax technician for several art foundries in New Mexico. She worked as a technician for sculptor Tom Otterness in New York City and built models and supervised model makers for stop motion animated television commercials and music videos. In 2012 and 2014, her work was selected to be included in the Alvarez Gallery’s annual “Thank you, CT” show in Stamford. This led to a relationship and, eventually, representation by the gallery in 2015. In these years, Head had two solo exhibitions, one at Hilles Gallery, Creative Arts Workshop, New Haven, CT, and the second at Paul Mellon Arts Center, Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, CT.

In Measured Line was Head's first solo exhibition with the Gallery. The exhibition opened on October 15, 2015, presenting a collection of works produced after four years of labor and thought, careful planning and concise creation. The work is composed of stark lines, geometric shapes, and architectural sensibilities that are largely informed by the Minimalists of the 1960’s who sought, in part, to erase the distinction between painting and sculpture. In these works, Head has reproduced the essence of architecture by reducing line and space to its simplest form. Yet, upon further exploration, the significance of Head’s work does not end as simply as it is designed. The work goes beyond a portrayal of form and composition. Fervently and eloquently, In Measured Line offers us an interpretation of how humans age and change.

Through paper and through light, Head renders those very personal decisions we make to either conceal or accentuate elements of ourselves to the world. She explores the ways in which we account for—either embrace or destroy—our imperfections and mimics how we navigate our complexities selectively revealing our inner workings to others.

This concept is found in the way her primary materials, paper and light, successfully counteract one another, allowing for elements of the work to be either highlighted or hidden. The materiality of the work informs Head’s minimalist sensibilities. Instead of breaking light and paper into subjects and representations, she uses them deftly as tools to convey a larger sense of space and form. The materials take center stage, simultaneously distracting and guiding the viewer’s eyes over the work, asking that we judge the plane of the surface not by what is presented, but by what is left out.

In using versatile, ordinary, off-white paper, Head creates a quiet contrast between shapes. The fragility and vulnerability of paper allows for chance to contribute to the overall surface composition; when the surface is damaged in the art-making process, an accidental mark is then covered up with a strip, a pucker is cut out and resurfaced with a swatch, and a patch is added to counterbalance what is being corrected. These external forces of chance and circumstance allow for fresh discovery within each new composition.

LED lights imbedded behind the works are visible through carefully constructed breaks. These illuminations offer opportunity to discuss what is being covered by the paper, broaching the possibility of discovering something more beneath the surface. The openings give a glimpse into a private and mostly hidden inner landscape. In Head's work, light and, at times, material, escape onto the two-dimensional surface creating a dialogue between the flat plane and sculpture.