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Department ofArt and Art History

Sherry Karver

Sherry Karver

Edge of Civility and Contradiction

We are at a difficult juncture in our history, where really listening and being heard has become more important than ever. I have been working with a similar concept for several years called “Identity and Perception”, which relates to this theme.

Pushing traditional boundaries of photography and painting, I have combined my photo images with oil for all the color, narrative text, and resin surface on wood panels to create a new hybrid. My work confronts today's individual and societal issues so rampant in our impersonal metropolitan areas: alienation, loneliness, loss of identity, the passage of time, how others view us and how we judge others.

I write fictional bios on some of the figures as a way to personalize individuals and make them stand out from the crowd, giving them a voice since we all have a unique story to tell. I give a little bit of fictional history about the person - where I think they are from, what they do for a living, their hopes, dreams, aspirations, foibles, fears, etc. I always try and add a bit of humor since we tend to take things too seriously.

My work is a fine art project, not a documentary one.  I do not interview anybody, but rather I give my own take on who I think they are, which might be totally inaccurate or spot-on. It's how we behave in our normal day to day lives.

We judge others and they judge us, but hopefully in our new reality we can take a moment to actually listen to someone else and be heard as well.


Karver Edge of Civility and ContradictionEdge of Civility and Contradiction, 2020
Photo images, oil, narrative text and resin surface on wood panel
30" x 44"
Courtesy of Sherry Karver and Whitney Modern Gallery
Photo Credit: Sherry Karver

About the Artist

Sherry Karver is a mid-career artist, born and raised in Chicago. She received her B.A. degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN, and an M.F.A. in ceramics from the Newcomb School of Art of Tulane University, New Orleans, LA. Karver worked as a ceramic sculptor and potter, teaching college level ceramic classes for a number of years. Though she still loves ceramics, her own work evolved into photography and photo-based painting around 2000.

She works concurrently on two series, which have taken on a whole new meaning during the corona virus pandemic. Identity and Perception combines her photo images of crowd scenes with oil paint, narrative text, and resin surface on wood panels, and are one-of-a-kind pieces. Her other series, Movement Interrupted, harnesses data glitches for aesthetic purposes, and is printed as dye sublimation on metal in small editions. This series deals with the current feeling that things are disintegrating in our society, and that our movement has been literally interrupted.

Karver has had over twenty-five solo exhibitions including the Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside, CA; The Morris Graves Museum, Eureka, CA; and the Peninsula Museum of Art, Burlingame, CA. Her work is currently represented by Patricia Rovzar Gallery, Seattle, WA; Stremmel Gallery, Reno, NV; and Shayne Gallery, Montreal, CN. Sherry Karver’s work can be found in over 175 private, corporate, and museum collections including: The Crocker Museum, Sacramento, CA; Triton Museum, Santa Clara, CA; Santa Cruz Museum of Art, Santa Cruz, CA; and Delta Airlines, JFK, NY.