to the Ex Machina Gallery
Featuring World-Class Artists of the Upper Great Plains

Our featured artists:

HALL ONE: Thomas Shields
HALL TWO: Mark W. McGinnis
HALL THREE: Carl Grupp
HALL FOUR: Joel Strasser
HALL FIVE: Eyob Mergia
HALL SIX: Robert Aldern
HALL SEVEN: Jerry Aistrup
HALL EIGHT: Dick Krueger
Coming Soon: Mary Selvig, Richard Bresnahan


Portraits of the Soul

THOMAS SHIELDS, originally from Texas, has made himself at home on the Upper Great Plains, winning increasing acclaim for his extraordinary, vivid paintings which combine psychological insights, strong emotional overtones, and a highly personal vision.

Shields' oils have a painterly quality that asserts the medium, but the viewer is soon caught up in the psychological and emotional depths that lie beneath the textured surface. Elements of still-life, landscape, and life studies are melded to create an endlessly fascinating portrait of the soul.

Red Streak For larger view click on image.

Tom Shields has acknowledged that his early life in southeast Texas has influenced his painting, particularly in the recurring marine motifs. Swimming and diving in bayous and in the Gulf of Mexico, he found both immoderate pleasure and a painter's vocabulary. While objective elements appear in his work, often with seriously humorous intent, his interest is in the abstract thoughts and emotions evoked by images, and in the role that the viewer plays in giving personal meaning to what is seen.

Grass Hopper For larger view click on image.

Shields eschews the glib and the mundane, and he prefers to think of himself as an artist who happens to live in this region, rather than "a regional artist."

Shields' painting and his philosophy of art raise interesting questions for artists and art-lovers everywhere. Just how should the land where an artist lives enter into an artist's work? Is the term "regional artist" indeed a contradiction? And in a larger sense, just where is it that an artist---or any one of us---lives? Shield's work suggest that for him, at least, artists and viewers are most alive in the primal ocean of the collective unconscious.

Let's Dance

To contact Thomas Shields, E-mail him at shields@inst.augie.edu.
Yin Yang
Shrimp and Lobster

For larger view click on image.
Universal Man
Visit Hall Two: The Work of Mark W. McGinnis