Sherrie Wolf

Portrait of Sherrie Wolf

Painting parallels world history and is never past its prime. I seek to position my own experiences in the present, yet with respectful and curious references to the past.

My still life paintings evolve out of my passion for arranging objects. I delight in the objects themselves, as well as the spaces between and within the objects. I marvel at their beauty, and I enjoy making visual and conceptual associations between objects in a form of viewable alliteration. My compositions are theatrical, as if the setting is a stage on which drama is being performed.

My current portraits reflect my 2012 series of close-up faces from important historical paintings. Capturing facial expression is challenging and the outward gaze can make the observer feel vulnerable. My still life arrangements combining articles of beauty and, dare I say, vanitas, invite the contemporary viewer to enter the painting and begin to look more closely.

Throughout the history of art, I observe a cyclical human nature in which emotions, experiences, and events tend to repeat. We can learn so much by viewing ourselves in the larger context of history. We can recognize a commonality that connects one generation to another, one era to another. My hope is to learn from our past by looking at it intensely.

I paint with oil on canvas over an acrylic ground. My 2015 series of hand-colored prints used etching and photogravure. I also work in watercolor, occasionally departing from my richly saturated palette by painting in black and white.

Over the past decade, my work has evolved in scale and intensity. In particular, I have made some very large self-portraits based on historical figures in painting. For example, I envisioned myself as the subject in Charles Peale’s The Artist in His Museum (1822). A frequent subject in my studio practice is still life arrangements set before references to historical paintings. Again, the size of my canvases and the complexity of the still life arrangements are ever-increasing.

I have been honored by the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, which published a 148-page retrospective monograph on my work. This experience, especially the opportunity to view the arc of my past four+ decades as an artist, has given me the opportunity to reflect on how my oeuvre has simultaneously changed, while some elements have remained constant. My technical skills have improved and, while there are obvious through lines that connect my latest work with earlier works, my work has become more elaborate and intellectually vigorous.