Alan Shields standing in front of 'Ibis', the Shorebirds identification chart series, Tyler Graphics Ltd., Mount Kisco, New York, 1992
Gift of Kenneth Tyler 2002
Photographer: Marabeth COHEN-TYLER

Alan Shields’s work is known for its riotous colours and varied media, and the work he created with Kenneth Tyler at Tyler Graphics is no exception. Born in Kansas in 1944, Shields studied at Kansas State University and the University of Maine Theatre Workshop before being awarded a Guggenheim study scholarship in 1973. Shields’s work is influenced by America’s indigenous Indian culture and this is reflected by the use of beading and weaving throughout his work. Shields first worked at Tyler Graphics in 1978 and has worked there extensively ever since.

In 1984 he created his Lattice paper mixed media series of prints which are represented in the National Gallery’s collection. To create this series Shields used highly unorthodox practices: he designed 11 different paper varieties—two of which featured window–like openings, and six of which were lattice shaped—created nine different printing elements, and used at least four different printing methods. Each work consists of three layers of paper, glued, stitched or tied together after printing.
Emilie Owens


Born in Harrington, Kansas, United States of America

Attends Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas; enrols in civil engineering program and takes art classes

Moves to New York City, New York

Attends summer theatre workshops at University of Maine, Orono; involved with stage design and scenery painting

First solo exhibition, at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York City; completes first print, a screenprint, at Maurel Studios, New York City, for the Ten New York ‘69 portfolio, published by Tanglewood Press, New York

Completes first mixed-media print with William Weege at Jones Road Print Shop and Stable, United States Paper Mill, Oregon, Wisconsin

Moves to Shelter Island, New York; completes first papermaking project with Joe Wilfer at Upper United States Paper Mill, Oregon

Receives John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship; included in Biennial exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; included in Biennial exhibition, Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris, France

Included in Biennial exhibition, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Solo exhibition, at Musée de Saint-Etienne, Saint-Etienne, France; included in Venice biennale, Italy

Included in International biennale of graphic art, Ljubljana, Yugoslavia; completes mixed-media prints at Jones Road Print Shop and Stable, Barneveld, Wisconsin

Experiments with papermaking techniques with John Koller of HMP Papers, Woodstock Valley, Connecticut; completes first series of mixed‑media prints at Tyler Graphics Ltd., Bedford Village, New York; completes monotype series at Institute of Experimental Printmaking, San Francisco, California

Completes mixed‑media prints at Tyler Graphics Ltd., Bedford Village, New York, included in Venice biennale; invited to work at Gandhi Ashram Paper Mill, Ahmedabad, India

Solo exhibition, Alan Shields: painting and prints, at Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts

Completes prints at Tyler Graphics Ltd., Bedford Village, New York, including: Bull pen, Gas-up, Milan fog, Odd job, Santa’s collar, The castle window set, The raggedy circumnavigation

Travelling retrospective exhibition, 1968–1983: The work of Alan Shields, originating at Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, Memphis; included in travelling exhibition Paper as image, organised by Arts Council of Great Britain, London; included in exhibition, The American artist as printmaker: the 23rd annual print exhibition,Brooklyn Museum, New York City

Included in exhibition, Prints from Tyler Graphics, at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Completes The raggedy circumnavigation series at Tyler Graphics Ltd., Bedford Village; included in Ken Tyler: printer extraordinary, at Australian National Gallery (now National Gallery of Australia), Canberra

Included in exhibitions: Made in India, at Museum of Modern Art, New York City; 70s into 80s: printmaking now, at The Lois and Michael Torf Gallery, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts

Included in exhibitions: A view of a workshop: selections from Tyler Graphics, 1974–1987, at Katonah Gallery, Katonah, New York; Artists from the Paula Cooper Gallery, at Galeria EMI-Valentim de Carvalho, Lisbon, Portugal

Solo exhibition, Alan Shields: big and in-between, at Sawhill Gallery, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia; included in travelling exhibition, The cutting edge: new directions in handmade paper, originating at Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Michigan

Included in travelling exhibition, First impressions: early prints by forty-six contemporary artists, originating at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; included in exhibition, Ken Tyler: 25 glorious years, Heland Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm, Sweden

Included in exhibition, Prints of the eighties, at Pratt Manhattan Gallery, New York City

Solo exhibition, Alan Shields: works on canvas and paper, at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York City

Completes Shorebirds identification chart series at Tyler Graphics Ltd., Mount Kisco, New York; included in travelling exhibition, Innovation in collaborative printmaking: Kenneth Tyler, 1963–1992, originating at Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan

Included in International biennale of graphic art, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Included in exhibition, Beyond print: masterworks from the Ken Tyler collection, Dr Earl Lu Gallery, LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts, Singapore

Solo exhibition, Alan Shields: images in paper, at Center for Contemporary Graphic Art and Tyler Graphics Archive collection, Fukushima, Japan

Commission to create a new work by Dieu Donné Papermill, New York City; solo exhibitions, Alan Shields: The worm returns (to the big city); Nicholas Davies & Co., New York; Alan Shields: a survey, The Beach Museum of Art, Kansas State University, Manhattan

Completes Pop-up nature series

Alan Shields died on Shelter Island, New York

Barbara Delano © Tyler Graphics Ltd., revised Kate Buckingham, 2006
This chronology provides an overview of selected biographical information, major solo and group exhibitions held within the artist's own lifetime.

Further information will be added to this site as the National Gallery proceeds with its research and documentation.

Last updated January 2017