WEST 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 and is co-curated by Scott Knauer, Monmouth University's Director of Galleries; Mark Ludak, Specialist Professor of Photography; and guest curator James Yarosh.
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."
"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 galleries says.SAVE THE DATE: SEPT 05 - DEC 03, 2017 SHEBA SHARROW EXHIBIT AT MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY IN PARTNERSHIP WITH JAMES YAROSH ASSOCIATES. OPENING RECEPTION SEPTEMBER 22, 7-9PM AT RECHNITZ HALL'S DIMATTEO GALLERY
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