Artist Sherry Karver explores the sociology of modern life through her photography, using digital technology combined with narrative text. Enjoy her provocative artwork by visiting her website.
Growing up in Chicago as an only child, before the age of computers, I always made art projects as a way to entertain myself. In college I got sidetracked and went for a B.A. in Sociology instead of art, but later went back for my M.F.A. in ceramics/glass at Tulane University.
Ceramics has been a very important part of my life, and I had a successful career in it for twenty years. I still teach ceramics on the college level, but in my own work I switched to photo-based painting with narrative text about fifteen years ago. This was a gradual transition, not a sudden change.
My work originates from photographs I have taken on city streets and in iconic buildings such as Grand Central Terminal and the Metropolitan museum.
In my work I am pushing the boundaries of traditional painting and photography by using digital technology, and combining them with narrative text and resin surface on wood panels.
Besides Chicago, I have lived in New Orleans, New York, San Diego, and now Oakland, so my work is informed by the multitude of issues we encounter living in a metropolitan area: loneliness and alienation in our fast-paced society, the concept of personal identity and the loss of it, the passage of time, the individual as part of the crowd, and how we can stand out from the “sea of sameness,” since we each have our own unique voices and stories to tell. I guess my Sociology background is finally coming into play!
I began writing text over some of the figures in my photos as a way to personalize or individualize people, and make them stand out from the crowd. These brief stories are from my imagination, based solely on the figure’s appearance or stance. By using text in my work, it adds another layer, and gives the viewer a chance to “experience” the artwork, and become part of the process by reading it.
When I am sitting in a café or walking down the street, I become a “people watcher,” and often wonder who somebody is, what they do for a living, etc. Maybe this is a bit of voyeurism or just plain curiosity that many of us have about others.
Often I incorporate black & white vintage photos and “ghost-like” images with my contemporary shots, which represent the passage of time – everyone that has been there before us, and those who will be there in the future.
The figures are often caught in movement, conveying our individual journeys where we are all “collectively alone.”
I am not a “romantic” artist. I don’t wait for inspiration to hit me or for the muse to arrive. I work six days a week on art and related business. I work well under pressure, I like deadlines and commitments, and only sell through galleries. Making art is hard work!
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