This past January 2023, Washington D.C. based artist Sharon Fishel had a jewel of a show in Frederick, MD at the Circle Gallery at Gallery 115 titled “Earth Witness”. Sharon’s glossy, textured works on canvas are done on thin canvas stretchers increasing the contrast of the relief of the layering of oils, pressed flowers and varnish. Entering the room was warm and bright in contrast to the grey day that it was. The small scale of each work beckons you to come closer and I found myself immediately getting lost in the layers and shapes. The paintings shimmer and move from one topography to the next. Commingling with the organic forms were flatly painted circles that increased the depth of each piece while also adding a graphic sensibility that Sharon explains, serve as a kind of directional device as well.
Sharon’s work has always been about nature since I have known her, and this time, the works are bursting with even more floral imagery. She talks about how the marks – both made with the hand and stencils – indicate both growth and disintegration. While her work is generally an homage to nature, the paintings also hold a message about the environmental devastation humans have increasingly been creating over the millennium. From wildfires, unprecedented flooding, glacial melt and global warming, humans as we all generally know by now, are not good for planet Earth.
That said, Sharon’s work is not dark in the least. In fact they celebrate the beauty of what nature is and should continue to be: Verdant, colorful, and yes beautiful.
Please watch this wonderful video of Sharon talking about each work in depth to learn from her what her work truly is about!
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