Sheba Sharrow, Moto Perpetuo, 2006, 50in x 64in, acrylic on canvas
LONG BRANCH, N.J. — Figurative painter Sheba Sharrow bore witness to human suffering, struggle and liberation. She was a child of the Great Depression and World War II, a participant in the social justice movements of the 1960s and '70s, saw the bloody roads walked for civil rights and the damages wrought by wars.
Through a vigorous and poetic hand, her work reflects on brutality and simultaneously pays homage to the animating power of solidarity, warning us: Remember, history's tragedies repeat.
Sharrow's work will be the focus of the single-artist exhibition tied to the university-wide theme of "Activism" from September 5, 2017 through December 3, 2017 at the DiMattio Gallery and is curated by Scott Knauer, Monmouth University's Director of Galleries.
Born in Brooklyn in 1926 to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, Sheba Sharrow grew up in Chicago and earned her BFA at the Art Institute of Chicago, studying with Boris Anisfeld and Joseph Hirsch. She continued her studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and earned an MFA at the Tyler School of the Arts at Temple University. She has been considered part of the "Chicago School" of imagist painters, fitting generationally into the "Monster Roster" group of artists from that city, including the most well-known of her classmates to lead the charge of image and ideas over pure abstraction, Leon Golub and Nancy Spero. A resident of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Sharrow died in 2006.
In the dominant milieu of Abstract Expressionism beginning in the 1950s, which actively rebelled against identifiable "meaning," Sharrow remained grounded in a humanist tradition and a social context. Curator and writer Alejandro Anreus placed her "in the company of Kollwitz, Beckman and Orozco," and writer Amy Fine Collins linked "her sensibility to German Expressionism."
Sharrow's unique style of storytelling and her occasional use of poetic text stand her apart. Her artistic intentions were deeply intellectual. "As long as the world is going the way it is going, I cannot stop doing what I have been doing," Sharrow told The New York Times in 2002. She lamented, "We cannot seem to get it right."
"As our country divides over new leadership and faces new policies, it is important to reexamine how the arts have always and will continue to connect shared humanity going forward. This exhibit allows us to refocus on one of postwar America's women painters, for whom making art was political as well as deeply personal," says James Yarosh of James Yarosh Associates in Holmdel, N.J., who has been representing Sharrow's work for about a decade.
"She takes difficult subject matter, and what begins as 'disturbing' becomes great art that favors beauty and gives us a contextual message and safety in its brilliance," the gallerist says.
The works will be on loan from both James Yarosh Associates Fine Art Gallery and the Estate of Sheba Sharrow as well as from institutions such as the Jersey City Museum of Art and private collections.
About Sheba Sharrow
Sheba Sharrow exhibited steadily over the course of her career and won many awards, including those from the Pollack-Krasner Foundation, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Councils on the Arts, and was a three-time nominee for the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award. Her work belongs to many private, museum and corporate collections, including The Steelcase Corporation, The Armstrong Corporation, World Industries, Citibank, The Signa Corporation and The RiteAid Corporation, among others, and has been most recently seen at the Art NYC Miami and Art Context Miami fairs. Her work has been exhibited in over 30 solo shows at museums, universities and galleries.
About Monmouth University Art Gallery
With three dedicated galleries for the visual arts, Monmouth University plays host to the creative visions of painters, sculptors and multimedia artists from across the United State and abroad, as well as the unique work of its students and faculty. Joan and Robert Rechnitz Hall, DiMattio Gallery, 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, NJ 07764-1898.
About James Yarosh Associates
James Yarosh Associates Fine Art Gallery, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, offers complete art services, which include in-home consultation for framing and placement of original fine art. A published interior designer, James Yarosh credits his study of the world's greatest museums and artists' homes for his knowledge of art-inspired design. Yarosh advises clients with an artist's eye.
Located one hour outside Manhattan, James Yarosh Associates is critically acclaimed for representing international and regional fine art collections to private collectors and for serving as a resource to the interior design trade.
The gallery, in the former 1912 firehouse loft in historic Holmdel Village, N.J., is open to the public every Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. and on weekdays and evenings by appointment. 732 993 5278
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