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Sloat Shaw
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Sloat Shaw

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Sloat Shaw’s major body of work, “The Flood Series” are oil paintings in which the artist is exploring an imaginative landscape. These works evoke the artist’s subconscious, interior “memories” of the earth’s transformations, after the biblical Flood. As the earth is constantly shifting and evolving, so do her paintings, oils on canvas, linen or paper, with stitching. They depict an earth bathed in light and atmosphere, full of mystery and imminent change. There is a vastness to her space, the only landmarks being the demarcation of earth and sky, the majestic chasms of the earth, and symbolic sticks that represent everyman, that move from the front plane into the distance. The paintings are built up by layers of paint and glaze, giving an added richness and depth, as well as a reverberation of color and light that shifts as one views the image from different angles.

After the Flood: Day 9

Her canvasses are often torn and re-stitched, a process that relates to Shaw’s belief that our environment is not perfect, nor is life itself, but suffers wounds and impairment, and yet, may be repaired. The stitching reminds one of Chinese or Japanese calligraphy, but is also meant, by the artist, “to represent the false front with which we frame our lives, and the need to slash deeper into the surface to reveal what we choose to ignore: our dependence upon the earth and the interdependence of all life.”

As Sloat Shaw remarks, “We are bathed in light, flooded with water, swirled by the wind. As modern beings we forget our relation to the elements until the electricity goes, the phone is dead, the planes are grounded. Paint is a way for me to express both the seen and the unseen. It bridges the path between our world that we acknowledge, and the hidden world that we just glimpse in our dreams. I paint the force of the earth.”

Four Monkeys and A Cat

Sloat Shaw is also a versatile and expert printmaker. Her whimsical lithograph of Four Monkeys and A Cat, and her dramatic linocut of a Lizard or Penguin demonstrate her technical skills as well as her outstanding sense of design and understanding of the power of line and pattern. Her works on paper illustrate a love of the physical material itself, as she delights in the texture and the often hand-worked, pulp-pulled material of the paper itself. Using Japanese rice paper or hand-made paper, she affords the viewer an additional dimension of pleasure in the very materials on which her work is presented.

Sloat Shaw was awarded the 5th year degree (1990), and the Print Prize (1990) at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Grumbacher Painting Prize by Diane Waldman of the Guggenheim Museum, New York, (1994 Silvermine). Prior to her art education, Shaw graduated with Honors in Anthropology from Barnard College in 1972 and from Simmons College, M.L.S. in 1975.

Rockhopper Penguin

Her work is in the collection of Harvard University’s Fogg Art Museum, the Boston Public Library, Rutgers Zimmerli Museum, the Moscow Academy of Arts’ Suricov Institute, and the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA as well as over fifty private collections. She has had numerous solo and group shows in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Santa Fe, N.M., and New York City, as well as in Moscow, Russia.

A respected teacher of painting and drawing, Sloat Shaw has taught at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA, the Danforth Museum, in Framingham, MA, at Lesley College, Cambridge, MA, at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, and at the Swain School of Design, in New Bedford, MA. She has also worked in the field of painting conservation at The Art Conservation Resource Center of Boston, MA.

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