October 21st, 2022 – November 26th, 2022

Elizabeth Sher explores the spiritual nature of words in her latest body of work Mark My Words. These hand-drawn and neon pieces are Sher’s response to the inundation of words that infiltrate her waking and sleeping mind. Using bamboo pen and jewel-toned ink on handmade paper, Sher creates poetic strings of magical words in phrases that push back against the infiltration. “Who stole my dream”, one drawing asks?  Employing belligerence and wit, she limns a favorite playground retort: “Says Who”. Many of her pieces get right to the sarcastic point: “No Kidding”, “Who Knew”, “So You Say”.

Sher focuses on repetition, writing, and rewriting phrases, composing them into refrains that resist and disarm: “Hold On”, “I Am Worthy”. Drawings shimmer with ambiguity: “Help You Help Me Help You Help Me”, “Enough Is Enough Enough Is Not Enough”. Sher lets her words possess her physical body and through the ritual of handwriting she transforms them into art.

Sher’s drawing style is expressionistic; she forms upstanding capital letters without spaces and the words dissolve into letters and forms that may take some deciphering. Ink runs and blots into the folds of the highly textured paper, obscuring an easy reading. Sher’s hand-written script blocks the smooth digital communication and fast circulation of information that accelerates our lives beyond meaning and agency. Through art, she makes her prescription to us very clear: “Speak Up Speak Up”. 

(Above excerpted from essay by Kathleen King)

speak up speak out
Elizabeth Sher, Mark My Words (2022), ink and acrylic on handmade paper, 20 x10 inches.

Elizabeth SHer

ELIZABETH SHER is a San Francisco Bay Area artist and filmmaker and is the owner of I.V. Studios: Art & Film for the 21st Century. She is Professor Emeritus of Art at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where she taught painting and media arts for over 30 years. She lives and works in Oakland and on the Russian River in Sonoma County, California. Sher has had solo exhibitions in the Bay Area and nationally. Her drawings, prints, paintings, and artist books have been exhibited at university art museums and are included in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Fine Arts Museums of California, San Jose Museum of Art, Oakland Museum of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, De Saisset Museum, University of Miami Special Artist Book Collection, Carnegie Mellon University Hunt Collection, University of Miami, and the United States Embassy Collection as well as many private collections. Her films have been honored at film festivals nationally and internationally and aired on television in the United States and abroad.