Shannon Finnell

While strongly believing that the key to social change is compassionate relationships that lead to genuine support, Shannon Finnell’s work attempts to embody that lesson through the deconstruction of supportive gestures and moments. Pulling from her undergraduate degree in Studio Art and Peace Studies from Goucher College, the marriage of visual art and questioning oppressive social structures is where Finnell finds inspiration for her work. Now at Parsons School of Design at The New School pursuing her Master's in Fine Art Photography, concepts of engaged support and movement are pushed through experimentation of video in collaboration with modern dance.

Notable exhibitions include the participation and production of Governing Bodies at the Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries (New York City, NY 2017) and Personal is Political at Non-Fiction Gallery (Savannah, GA 2017).

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To Counterbalance: A Manifesto

One cannot simply catch another to counterbalance. Much like valuable moments of support, it requires the active engagement and trust of both parties to successfully counterbalance in mind, body and spirit.

It is more than just the simple definition of “a weight that balances out another weight”. This lack of poeticism reduces us to lumps of flesh and bone without intention or risk of failure

both are important.

It is more similar to the use of counterbalances within structures made from the hands and hearts of humans, as something that holds an entire building upright. Without the intention towards a larger whole, structures fail.

It is the moment of a movement where you let your fear and anxiety loose and trust the other person is doing the same -to move in unison- to create balance between the two of you.

A moment that is never the same, each time a new performance. It may get easier, but it does not and cannot be practiced to the point of perfection. It is because we are ever changing within ourselves that the connectivity between two is constantly shifting as well.

We are still individuals at heart, still have our own autonomous thoughts and dreams and pain we hold inside ourselves. We are only human and complex in this way. Despite how heavy they are, our experiences are our own. They are not something to catch, or something to be taken from us. They are something to counterbalance - to recognize with compassion, to hold and treasure, to share the load for a while.

To actively engage, to trust - both in yourself and with another is to truly support in a moment of counterbalance.