Collage has always been the basis of Shepard's work. Forming a whole from parts. This is how we think and imagine the world. Consciousness is an act of collage. Shepard recreates specific landscapes rather as the mind does - both in the present of seeing it and more specifically as a memory. Memory is an act of collage. His work stems from the discipline of seeing the world as an aesthetic experience as opposed to merely looking at it. From this engagement Shepard makes works which join the perceptions of what is actual and what is imagined - emphasizing the plural viewpoint rather than a single point of perspective perceived as though by a totally immobile viewer. This is after all how one actually experiences a landscape - moving through it, around it, within it - the plural viewpoint - and the experience of doing this, the recollection of the various elements which make-up this experience are then assembled in the mind as memory.
Essential to the process of making a landscape work is actually being there within it - spending days returning again and again overlaying the impressions and perceptions in the mind's eye from the information gathered by his actual eyes. Shepard uses a camera to capture and record this experience as a visual record, accumulating hundreds of photographs of the individual elements within the landscape. Later back in his studio he depicts his own recollection through an assemblage of these elements, layer upon layer with a fluidity and interconnectedness that expresses the omnijectivitiy of memory. There are places he remembers.......
Concurrent with his landscape work and more directly expressive of his interest in systemic thinking are his System Obeservation works. Here the work is a product of the act of observation itself. A singular viewpoint onto a small area of a systemic event as it passes before a cine camera, which he uses to take single frames at fixed intervals over a precise period of time. When the individual frames are later scanned and sequenced together in a grid, an autopoietic composition is revealed - expressive of the whole. The experience of watching the event, the passage of time counted out by the rhythm of releasing the shutter is later repeated as he places each frame into the grid. In the end, however, with the finished piece each of the individual moments in time become one moment seen as a whole.