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Meet Sheri Rush

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sheri Rush.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up in Texas. There was an artist who had a storefront Gallery with a teaching studio in back, next door to the barbershop my brother went to. When I was eight or nine, one night while my mom and I were waiting, I asked my mother if I could take art lessons. A week later she said yes. I studied painting privately throughout my childhood and went to get my BFA at Texas Christian University. College was my first formal education in art and my first art history class. It was all those hours of looking at art in the dark that changed my life. Many artists influenced me but it was the Abstract Expressionists, particularly Mark Rothko, who turned a light bulb on for me. A year later I made a pilgrimage to Houston and when I walked out of the Rothko Chapel, I knew I would pursue art forever. I wanted to go to New York City for my MFA but finding my own apartment and studio was very scary to me. I spent one summer at Bennington in a painting workshop where one of the visiting artists was Elizabeth Murray. I was telling her my small-town fears of NYC and she said, “You don’t have to go to New York, go to Chicago,” so I did.

I got my MFA at the University of Chicago and never left. I did not want to teach and my career was fits and starts so I isolated myself in the studio while working other jobs to make money. In the 90’s I pretty much left the art world. In 2014 I needed to get current and transition my painting. I discovered the programs at Hyde Park Art Center and got accepted into the Center Program. In connection with the Center Program, I took classes and completed the Visual Arts Certificate Program at the University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. Then in 2016 I was fortunate to get a studio at HPAC, giving me the opportunity and room to expand my practice by exploring a couple of different painting directions, and to grow my network of artists and audience. I stayed there for 2 years. Being at HPAC was an amazing experience and a prolific period of growth. Having learned that I cannot keep my studio at home and isolate, I now have my practice at Mana Contemporary, where I am continuing to make large-scale paintings, networking with an amazing community of artists and looking for exhibition opportunities.

Please tell us about your art.
I am a painter whose practice includes photography and collage. I have worked with landscape-derived imagery my entire career but never in a descriptive way. Landscape has been psychological, symbolic, metaphor and now fairly abstract. My large-scale paintings currently investigate the changing, contemporary experience of the Sublime, specifically, the layers through which we now view landscape. Our immediate experience of the sublime is filtered through the digital image. My source material for these paintings are photographs that I have taken on trips, over the last four years, with my phone camera through the window of a moving car, bus, or train. The imagery in my work is familiar yet dislocating. The huge size of the work and the reflections from the windows and camera lens help create a space the viewer can enter. Landscape is passing yet freezing in motion.

I use spray, acrylic and oil paint on canvas. Spray paint and acrylic paint allow me to build up layers very quickly then I switch to oil paint to build more layers and translucent forms. I also work and drip paint from two different directions by turning the paintings to create layers and space. Everyone has experienced endless landscape on a road trip through a moving window and each has his or her own history, memories and reflections, I want the viewer to take away a new experience of this reality.

We often hear from artists that being an artist can be lonely. Any advice for those looking to connect with other artists?
Well, that is the nature of the beast. I always have my dogs with me! Don’t isolate, rent a studio outside of your space even if it is only for a few months. Apply to residencies and apply again and again, or if you cannot spend 3-6 weeks away go to an Art Center and take classes. Classes are the easiest way to meet other artists and expand your practice. You never know what is going to spark a transition in your work and you will meet other artists who are feeling exactly like you are. There are also online groups that you can find on Facebook.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I do not have gallery representation so:

Website: sherirush.com.
Instagram: @sherilrush
Facebook: Sheri Rush

Message me through any of the above and I will put you on my email list to update you on shows and Open Studio days.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 2233 S. Throop Street studio #603
    Chicago,IL 60608
  • Website: sherirush.com
  • Email: sherirush2010@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @sherilrush
  • Facebook: Sheri Rush
  • Twitter: @sherirushart

Image Credit:
for the portrait: Michael Sullivan
for the Paintings: Jeff Ellis

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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