NOW ON Display

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Sharon Shapiro

Gadsden Museum of Art


The closing reception is on First Friday, January 6, 2023 

from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.


Sharon Shapiro is a Virginia-based artist with a versatile painting practice. She views painting as a cunning vessel for the tension and insatiable longing that lurk beneath the surface. Working in diverse media and sizes, Shapiro portrays opposing forces in her figurative-based work: fantastic and natural, utopian and dystopian subject matter. 

Shapiro has shown throughout the United States, including one and two-person exhibitions at SPRING/BREAK Art Show, NYC; the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington, Arlington, VA; {Poem 88} Gallery, Atlanta, GA; Garvey Simon Projects, NYC; and the Gadsden Museum of Art, Gadsden, AL. Her group exhibitions include the Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC; Maine Center for Contemporary Art, Rockland, ME; the McLean Project for the Arts, McLean, VA; and the Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA. She has been in residence at Ucross, Jentel, Ragdale, The Hambidge Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her practice has received grant support, including two awards from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and she was the recipient of the Atelier Focus Fellowship at AIR SFI in Georgia. Her work has been featured in New American Paintings, Whitewall, Art Spiel, Studio Visit, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, and Kolaj Magazine. Shapiro holds an MFA from the Maine College of Art and a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art. She currently shows her work with Garvey|Simon in New York City.


Representations of women can agitate for a cultural shift. Wrestling with themes of nostalgia, memory, and femininity, I chronicle the complexities of growing up in the American South. Working with women I know, I stage scenes to photograph, providing the basis for my paintings. 

Beauty is a temptation for the viewer, but upon closer inspection, cracks in the artifice reveal veiled content. In contrast with the natural realism, visual disruption and fluorescent color create a discordant scene that tilts the viewers' relationship with the subject. I evaluate intimacy and access using autobiographical experience to construct a loose narrative. I emphasize their camaraderie, vulnerability, and independence by creating semi-imaginary environments for women in utopian and dystopian settings. 

Examining the past alongside the current racial and climate crises, I confront how the two are inextricably linked. Inspired by personal events, collective myths, and pop culture, I present a world in which time coalesces and collapses.