George Mason University | Sharon Shapiro No Man’s Land

By East City Art Editorial Team on April 21, 2024

Tue, April 9 2024 — Sat, May 25 2024

Sharon Shapiro, Unfollowers, 2022, oil and spray paint on canvas, 78”x 52”

About the Exhibition
Visual representations of women can agitate for a cultural shift. Having spent three decades creating paintings that explore the intricacies of female identity, Sharon Shapiro’s work chronicles her multi-faceted experiences of growing up in the American South. Through this lens, she examines the profound impact that cultural perceptions and regional conventions play in shaping feminine subjectivity.

No Man’s Land features a variety of Shapiro’s recent large-scale oil paintings. Captivated by the tensions and aspirations that arise in adolescence and continue in adulthood, the artist first photographs women in various poses and staged scenarios. She collages these figures into disparate landscapes which are then rephotographed or used as the basis for her paintings.

Shapiro’s color palette is dominated by vivid hues and neon colors that gained popularity in the 1980s, coinciding with her formative years. These colors serve as potent conveyors of meaning. Frequently utilizing hot pinks and reds, Shapiro draws on their commercialized associations with femininity and feminism. She also employs these “hot” colors to draw attention to critical environmental situations affecting us all: deep red weather maps, raging forest fires, and record-setting heat waves. These recent paintings subtly merge the artist’s concerns for personal agency with environmental urgency. The complex and layered representations of women ask for a reevaluation of existing systems and the attitudes they engender.

About the Artist
Sharon Shapiro is a Virginia-based artist with a versatile painting practice. She has shown throughout the United States, including one and two-person exhibitions at SPRING/BREAK Art Show, NYC; the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington, Arlington, VA; Garvey Simon Projects, NYC; and the Gadsden Museum of Art, Gadsden, AL. Her group exhibitions include the Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC; Maine Center for Contemporary Art, Rockland, ME; the McLean Project for the Arts, McLean, VA; and the Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, LA. In addition, she has been in residence at Ucross, Jentel, Ragdale, The Hambidge Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her practice has received grant support, including two awards from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and she was the recipient of the Atelier Focus Fellowship at AIR SFI in Georgia. Her work has been featured in New American Paintings, Whitewall, Art Spiel, Studio Visit, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Kolaj Magazine. Shapiro holds an MFA from the Maine College of Art (2019) and resides in Charlottesville, VA.

Buchanan Partners Gallery
Hylton Performing Arts Center
10960 George Mason Circle
Manassas, VA