Shelby Charlesworth

Shelby Charlesworth is a Master of Fine Arts Candidate and Instructor of Record at the University of Connecticut. She is an interdisciplinary artist whose primary media include (but are not limited to) sculpture, installation and printmaking.

Artist Statement: I use both personal and social context to shape my work and respond in an interdisciplinary manner, investigating themes of loss, longing, grief and collective trauma. I am interested in the slippage between absence and presence; the fixed and the ephemeral. I work with objects to create compositions that relate to the body as they play with temporality and permanence.


United States


Any Piece of Cloth Can Be a Rag

This body of work was created both in response to the immense amount of loss and trauma caused by COVID-19, as well as financial instability created by the pandemic. Lack of income has called for resourcefulness when discovering new ways to work as well as safe workspaces to practice social distancing.

Every day has been filled with endless data, spreadsheets, graphs and numbers. The difficult reality is that these numbers represent human bodies, lives lost. These embroidered rags serve as documentation of the daily fatalities suffered due to COVID-19 in the United States. This work is diaristic in nature, attempting to digest the information being shared. This work is ongoing and will span the duration of the pandemic.


Embroidery on cloth

Shelby Charlesworth - Vanishing

Any Piece of Cloth Can Be a Rag (Detail) – 22.5″ x 15.5″

Shelby Charlesworth - Vanishing

Any Piece of Cloth Can Be a Rag (Detail) – 9″ x 8″

Shelby Charlesworth - Vanishing

Any Piece of Cloth Can Be a Rag (Detail) – 12″ x 12″

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THIS Gallery acknowledges that it is situated on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.

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