April 20, 2005
Donna Sharrett - Evocative Memory
Donna Sharrett has created emotionally evocative, mysterious works that pull the viewer beyond daily life into a deeper level of time and relationship with the world.
"Trained as a painter, Ms. Sharrett, 41, used to produce abstract landscapes. But more recently she has created an unusual variety of needlework constructions that have caught the attention of collectors and curators. Mementos, made of dried rose petals joined in elaborate patterns by lacelike sections of meticulously hand-stitched, artificial hair, resemble big doilies. They bring to mind objects from folk or religious rituals, although at first glance a viewer may not be able to determine their purpose." New York Times, 2000
Sharrett began this work following the death of her mother from cancer.
"Sharrett developed her work in a response to personal tragedy. Several years ago, while nursing her terminally ill mother, Sharrett returned to the needlework processes learned in her childhood. The way back to needlework was bound up in two painful arenas: the desire to find something in which her mother could be the teacher -- an attempt to maintain some aspect of the normal hierarchy within a mother/daughter relationship; and the desire to find a way to transcend time, to fill the bottomless days of worry and waiting."
Surface Design, 2001
"Acknowledging the inherent human propensity to assign symbolic meaning to materials in nature, rose petals, rose beads, and dirt (all laden with religious and cultural symbolism) are used to create the works." Donna Sharrett
The article, The Moment; After Past Post Modernism, Art Finds A New Soul By Edward M. Gomez addresses why the interest in this sort of artwork today, after decades of minimalist and post-modern art:
"What distinguishes the work of artists who are not primarily motivated by postmodernist theory, among other characteristics, are its attention to craftsmanship and its allusions to the human body, to animal life and to the relationship between human beings and nature. Often, such art also evokes or directly addresses spiritual themes; sometimes it reacts against the techno obsessions of the digital age or attempts to 'warm up' impersonal high-tech media even as it employs them in its making. Much of it seems to spring from a narrative impulse.... In both commercial-gallery and museum settings, her 'Mementos' have attracted viewers who have found their allusions to death more intriguing than repellent. 'They make people remember something, even if they donít know exactly what it is,' says Sharrett. Sharrett says that 'the repetition in this work and the way it relates to so many cultures with their repeating customs, rules and cycles' is more meaningful to her than the abstract paintings she used to make. She adds: 'Maybe there's something very spiritual and necessary about this kind of repetition, or else we wouldn't have been doing it for generations.'"
A late addition: Donna Sharrett's work will be included in the Collage: Signs & Surfaces show at Pavel Zoubok Gallery in NY.Posted by sfenton at April 20, 2005 09:14 AM