SHARON SHAPIRO

Artist statement:

A person’s placid exterior often belies a riotous inner core, and I am fascinated by the conflict between inner and outer existence. Painting is a cunning vessel for the tension and insatiable yearning that lurks beneath the surface of what we see. My paintings portray opposing forces, subject matter both gentle and abrasive, fantastic and real, utopian and dystopian. I present a contemporary viewpoint on femininity and feminism, self-expression, and self-worth.

Exploring facets of memory, I use beauty in my work to serve as a temptation for the viewer; upon closer inspection, the cracks in the artifice reveal deeper narratives and hidden meanings. Inspired by personal events, local lore, and pop-cultural references, I present the viewer a world both individual and universal; a world in which time coalesces and collapses.My work confronts the past alongside the superfluity and temporality of the current 24-hour news cycle; the frivolity of fashion is juxtaposed with the significance of pattern or color within a long arc of art history.

Using nostalgia to attack and revere these memories simultaneously, I challenge the viewer to differentiate between mythology and history and to question how these roles play out in larger cultural narratives. Chronicling the complexities of growing up female in America, the figures in my work are stand-ins for the Self. I explore the private lives of women and girls as a means to examine vulnerability. By asserting the right for self-possession while exposing the authority that is suspect, representations of women can agitate for a cultural shift.