I am a self-taught artist. I first began to paint at the age of three years old. The desire to paint has always been a part of my life. I was born in 1946 and raised in Chicago, but spent the summers of my childhood at my grandfather’s summer home in Long Island. The joys of the ever-changing beach and the ocean and the experience of living in a rustic farmhouse amidst a vineyard and a fruit orchard had a profound impact on me. The natural forms that I was exposed to every summer (so different from urban life) inspired my work as a young artist.
I earned my bachelor’s degree in Art Education. I spent over 25 years an educator, teaching at such institutions as the School of Fine and Applied Art of Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, the American Academy of Art in Chicago, the Denver Art Museum, the University of Denver/Colorado Institute of Art and Santa Fe Community College.
While teaching in 1970s, I earned a double masters degree in Painting and Cultural Studies and took my first formal studio courses in painting. Studying the art of other cultures and creating my own art began to compete for my attention. I moved to the West and was unprepared for the wide vistas and intense color of New Mexico and Colorado. My work became more abstract as I began to use broad, wide brush strokes in response to the energy of the Southwest, especially the incredible light and textures before me. My self-expression no longer conformed to the conventional ideas of beauty or “realism.” I have used nature and the human form as a means, not an end, because the search for subject is now internalized.
I had the privilege of meeting Georgia O’Keefe, who critiqued my work. This was an experience of a lifetime and motivated me to use more organic shapes in my painting. She told me that “your use of borders in your painting may become the focal point of your work.”
In the 1990s, I began to paint and experiment with metals. It has been the nature of my artistic experimentation to break previous boundaries, expand the use of materials, and reinvent the limits of traditional form. I began to create and experiment with oil paint on metals such as copper and stainless steel, often showing some sculptural form. Structural lines and organic shapes enhanced my freedom to pain abstractly.
In 2000, I purchased a studio in Southern France, a location which once again has influenced my work. The light of New Mexico is similar to the light in Provence, and I am invigorated during my excursions there.
I am also experimenting with metal flakes mixed with oil and mixed media
oil on metals and canvas. I use tools other than a paintbrush, such as brayers, scrapers, files, and dental instruments. These tools enable me to create details under the surface of the paint, revealing new forms, colors, and surfaces. I seek not to know or preconceive a goal but create an awareness of the ideas served up by process. Because the subject has become internalized, the sense of place feels less like limitation and more like freedom.
Statement courtesy of Dot M. McSherry
University of New Mexico, Los Alamos, NM, USA (1991)
Governors State University, University Park, IL, USA (1974-1975)
Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL, USA (1965-1969)
Marion de Sola Mendes Memorial Award, National Association of Women Artists, New York, NY, USA
Galerie Pink, Montreal, Canada (1995)
ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL, USA (1993)
Alpha Gallery, Denver, CO, USA (1986)