Last updateWed, 28 Feb 2018 12pm


Sheba Sharrow Art Activism on Display

Sheba Sharrow Art Activism 1Art has the ability to provoke emotion; not all art can translate humanity’s cruelest attributes and translate them into profound beauty.

This past Friday evening, Monmouth University’s DiMattio Gallery in Rechnitz Hall held the opening reception for Sharrow’s selected works from 1988-2006. This assortment of Sharrow’s pieces is titled Balancing Act. The work shown was made through mixed media on Arches paper or acrylic on canvas. Many of the pieces incorporate influences from the Holocaust and World War II era along with civil rights movements within the 1960s and 1970s, some are expressed in the work more subtly than others allowing the viewer to divulge into the textured surface of her work.

Sharrow’s daughter, Mayda Sharrow was present for the opening. “They’re alive, and I think they will never lose their relevance. The artist is addressing such important issues, warfare, transitions of power; but she does it in a way that it’s not just politics. Art needs to have the poetic aspects and create an emotional impact otherwise it would just be politics.”

“She taught her whole life; she loved students,” Mayda Sharrow said.

Sheba Sharrow Art Activism 2Scott Knauer, Curator, Director of Galleries and Collections at Monmouth University said, “It is a really important show. Sheba is an artist that has been underrepresented.” The gallery is also co-curated with Mark Ludak, Specialist Professor of photographer; and guest curator James Yarosh.

Out of the 27 pieces shown in the gallery, only two are not for sale, which include From Files of the KGB, 1994 which is on loan from the Jersey City Museum and Moto Perpetuo, 2006. The prices of the work range from $10,000 to $65,000. For Warrior Profile, 1989, Ahkmatova’s Troubled Sleep, 1995, and Ladder, 2000 the price would have to be requested.

“Our theme this year is ‘Art Activism.’ The pieces were made during political and social turmoil, and war, and really grasp issues that are still relevant, and the audacious use of collage and poetry, Neruda and other sources are brought into play to really express that.” Knauer said.

“It was nice that other departments and professors are involved. Waters, Dzenko, and Grupico all wrote pieces about the work,” Knauer said. The pieces include various concepts that range from violence, ideologies, post-humanization, solitude to poetry, human evolution, freedom, and humanity. The subjects of Balancing Act can be interpreted into any field of study and every student could gain something from viewing the work. “We’re hoping to have more student involvement, maybe implement a walk through and panel,” Knauer said.

Dr. Michael Waters, associate professor of English, said, “I first saw Sheba Sharrow’s work in the early 90s, and was struck then, as I remain struck now, by the sensuality of her brushwork and the fluidity of her images, however disturbing those images may be. Her art shows us human beauty perverted by the political, and in doing so takes on moral urgency.”

Although the work may feature skulls and corpses, the inner grace of the piece’s meaning is exhumed.

“The work speaks for itself. It is so meaningful, what the paintings and the pieces really represent,” Knauer said.

Balancing Act will be displayed in the DiMattio Gallery until December 3, 2017.

PHOTOS TAKEN by Alexandria Afanador


Contact Information

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Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
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Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151