NAU gives lost work gloves a home at new art gallery

"Remnants: Drawing & Photographs of Found Gloves" poster

Ever lost a work glove and wonder where it went? Well, there is a chance that Flagstaff artists Eric O’Connell or Shawn Skabelund might have it.

“Remnants: Drawing & Photographs of Found Gloves,” a new art display at Northern Arizona University, features fine art photography and sketches of found work gloves.

The College of Arts and Letters will hold the opening reception for the art display from 3-5 p.m. Nov. 8 in the Riles Gallery. This event will give the community the opportunity to meet both artists.

Skabelund, a regional artist and curator and a faculty member in sustainable communities, and O’Connell, an assistant professor of practice in the School of Communication, began making art with gloves in 2008—O’Connell as the photographer, and Skabelund as the drawer and sculptor. Originally creating works from finding gloves on the ground, now they are given gloves by carpenters, loggers, ranchers and wildland fighters.

“For both of us, the gloves exude a sense of longing, portraying a stilled-life, a memento mori,” O’Connell said. “There also is a sense of animism in each found glove, and if it is made of leather, in the animal whose body it came from.”

O’Connell collects gloves and keeps them as intact as possible. He carefully transports them to his studio and photographs them as they were originally found, including with any dirt, rocks and other debris. He then mounts the photos and preserves them with a resin, creating a similar metaphorical effect as insects preserved in amber.

Skabelund, a place-based installation artist and curator, works with landscapes to reveal their complex issues, ecologies and cultural histories. For nearly three decades, his work has been exhibited in venues throughout the United States, exploring what Wendell Berry calls the “unsettling of America.”

To see what the duo can do with gloves, the “Remnants: Drawing & Photographs of Found Gloves” exhibit that will remain open at the Riles Gallery until May 24, 2019.




Tallie Valverde