Sharon Shapiro

I am fascinated by the conflict between the inner and outer lives of human experience, between the self’s placid exterior and its churning, riotous core. Painting, I believe, is a good medium to both capture and illuminate this tension. There are lyrical and ornate aspects to my work, influenced in part by childhood recollections of color and patterns, but underneath and complementing this colorful surface lurks desperation, fragility, violence, and insatiable desire.

I am drawn to opposing forces—subject matter both gentle and abrasive, clean and dirty, fantastic and real—especially as these play out in the social constructions of gender. My paintings evolve from the personal mythos of my memories. Culled from a range of photographic sources, my subjects are composites, sharing traits both male and female, childlike and adult, animal and human.

As such, there is innocence as well as that which threatens it in my paintings. I mix flirtation with aggression, humor with power, and vulnerability with inner-strength. Often I will present an image of conventional domesticity only to subvert it, thereby displacing and disrupting traditional relationship tropes. I hope to evoke the vicissitudes of memory and circumstance with my paintings, and ultimately provoke the viewer to question what lies beneath the surface.

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