475 25th Street, Oakland CA 94612

Friday + Saturday: 12-5pm and by appt.

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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)

Sherelizabeth Speak Up Speak Out
Speak Up Speak Out
Elizabeth Sher, Mark My Words (2022), ink and acrylic on handmade paper, 20 x10 inches.
Olympus Digital Camera

Elizabeth Sher

ELIZABETH SHER is a Bay Area artist and filmmaker, and Professor of Art Emeritus at California College of Art. As a visionary creative, she possesses the ability to seamlessly integrate contemporary concerns into visually captivating artworks. Sher follows a series-based approach, drawing a parallel with musicians who curate thematically different albums. Infused with a touch of humor and a perceptive interplay of language and visuals, her exhibitions consistently defy the confines of artistic expression, pushing the boundaries of artistic expression.  Her work has been shown nationally and internationally and is in the permanent collections of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), The Museum of California, Oakland, Fine Arts Museum, De Saisset Museum, and many private collections.

Mercury 20 Gallery

475 25th Street, Oakland CA 94612
Tel: 510-701-4620

Gallery hours: Friday + Saturday: 12-5pm and by appt