Downtown Pistoia (Woolrich), oil on linen, 24″ x 16″, 2016
Studio Legale #2, oil on canvas, 23″ x 16″, 2016
Lucca Fortress, oil on linen, 22″ x 26″, 2016
Lucca #10, oil on linen, 22″ x 16″, 2016
Piazza del Carmine #25, oil on linen, 30″ x 30″, 2016
Vicolo della Minerva, oil on linen, 14″ x 11″, 2016
Florence Alley #3, oil on linen, 18″ x 12″, 2016
Pistoia #19, oil on linen, 22″ x 16″, 2016
The above images, published here for the first time anywhere, are selected from Sharon Wolpoff’s upcoming 2017 exhibition of paintings, “Thresholds & Sacred Spaces: Glimpses of Italy” (details below).
It is my desire to find a way of being in this world that illuminates others. Because illumination is a concept that can reveal itself in many ways, I focus my investigation on responding to my surroundings when they are lit by natural light. Through this process I’ve discovered that light can function as both a compositional component and a metaphysical presence.
The interplay of light and shadow can ignite the most ordinary setting, revealing an inherent beauty. The creation of representational artwork provides an extraordinary opportunity to access that beauty, or life force. I believe that a well-conceived painting points to something beyond itself, communicating a vital, power-filled presence. It is my intention to create a place where that presence can be encountered, rather than a mere window through which it can be seen. This applies no matter what the subject may be.
I like to offer my paintings as thresholds through which the viewer is asked to take a leap of faith. The viewer is encouraged to slow down, and perhaps tap into an expanded awareness. A sacred space has been created between the artist and the subject, allowing something compelling about the subject’s essence to be revealed. The sacred space created between the artist and the subject is then allowed to resonate through the artwork, rewarding the viewer’s leap of faith with a place to land firmly, for heart, mind, and soul.
About the Artist
It can be said that Sharon Wolpoff, who began her art training at age five, has always been an artist.
Sharon Wolpoff’s undergraduate work at American University, in Washington, D.C., began in 1970. She spent her junior year abroad, studying painting and printmaking at the Tyler School of Art, in Rome, Italy, and subsequently developed a love of Italy and a passion for travel. In addition to receiving in 1974 her bachelor’s of arts degree in fine arts, she was honored with the Art Department’s Elizabeth L. Van Swinderen Award for excellence.
An apprenticeship as a silversmith in Tucson, Arizona, in 1975 led to Sharon Wolpoff’s work as a designer of fine jewelry, as well as an appreciation for the craftsmanship of ritual objects. Working for jewelers in the Washington, D.C., area, she specialized in designing wedding and engagement rings. In 1980, she was awarded a patent for one of her jewelry inventions, a piece originally created as a ritual object in celebration of a wedding anniversary.
Sharon Wolpoff began work in 1975 on her master’s of fine arts degree in painting at American University. That summer, to enhance her understanding of color relationships, she studied tapestry weaving at the Penland School of Crafts, in Penland, North Carolina. While in graduate school, she continued to design jewelry (an article about a piece of her jewelry appeared in Playboy magazine). She also taught horseback riding to special needs children. Upon graduation, she received American University’s David Lloyd Kreeger Purchase Award.
In 1991, Sharon Wolpoff returned to Penland to continue her exploration of color relationships, this time through a course in bead weaving. In 1992, an article about her beadwork appeared in The New York Times and, in 1993, she began teaching bead weaving at the Smithsonian Museum through its Resident Associates Program. In 1995, The Artist’s Magazine published an extensive article by Sally Faulkner about Sharon Wolpoff’s approach to painting.
During the summer of 1996, Sharon Wolpoff traveled to Italy and thereafter returned regularly over the next five years. In 1996, she received an Arts & Humanities of Montgomery County [Maryland] Fellowship and, in 1997, 1998, and 1999, she received the Maryland State Arts Council’s Individual Artist Award. The 1999 award provided her with the opportunity to take a month-long monoprint workshop at the Santa Reparata Art Studio in Florence, Italy. She continued to develop her love of printmaking in workshops in 2006 at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colorado. Today, Sharon Wolpoff is one of the artists regularly doing printmaking at Susan Goldman’s Lily Press in Rockville, Maryland.
Recognizing the intimate relationship between healing and the arts, Sharon Wolpoff began taking coursework in 2005 in Tucson to develop her skills as a hands-on healer. In 2011, she became qualified as a Level 4 Healing Touch Apprentice. An extension of the relationship between healing and the arts, Sharon Wolpoff’s paintings now fill the walls at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Cancer Clinic.
Throughout her career, Sharon Wolpoff’s paintings have been exhibited extensively, most recently in “Light of Day” at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Hospital (February 12 – September 12, 2017) and in “Sharon Wolpoff & Tammra Sigler: Geometry and Other Myths” and “Summerford Legacy” at the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, Washington, D.C. (April 1 – May 28, 2017). An exhibition of her paintings of Italy, “Thresholds & Sacred Spaces: Glimpses of Italy,” is planned for July 14 – September 8, 2017, at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.
Several of Sharon Wolpoff’s paintings and prints have been acquired by the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities and can be viewed on the commission’s eMuseum Website. Another of her paintings was used on the set of the NBC hit series “Mad About You.”
A Washington, D.C., native, Sharon Wolpoff maintains a studio in Kensington, Maryland.