Elizabeth Sher: Surreality – MERCURY 20 GALLERY

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Elizabeth Sher: Surreality – MERCURY 20 GALLERY

February 12 - March 20


Elizabeth Sher’s artwork over the last decade has been inspired by residencies in other countries. She makes small scale works abroad, brings them back to her Oakland studio, and lets them evolve into more finished pieces.

This year, Covid-19 made travel impossible. Starting in mid-March, Sher sheltered in place at a cottage on the Russian River where everything was closed and time slowed down. For three months this satellite studio became a refuge, its own unique kind of artist residency.

Sher had a tablet of graph paper and became obsessed with drawing x’s and o’s in, on, over and around the field of teal squares. She states, “While love (o’s and x’s) can’t fix everything, it’s still important to hold onto, especially in frightening times.” Repeated mark-making became a calming physical mantra, resulting in the series Graphing an Uncertain Future.

Soon came the fires: dense smoke, scary orange skies, devastation. Visibility was very low. This, along with news stories repeating endlessly, made it hard to see clearly. The series Smoke Screens is her response to the lack of clarity on so many fronts.

What’s Inside These Shorts? (in the video alcove) is a 20-minute reel of short videos made during the past year – a time for reassessment.

Elizabeth Sher is a Bay Area artist and filmmaker and Professor Emeritus of Art at the California College of the Arts where she taught Painting and Media Arts for over 3 decades.

Sher’s drawings, prints, paintings and artist books are included in the collections of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Fine Arts Museum of California, San Jose Museum of Art, Oakland Museum of California, Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, De Saisset Museum, Carnegie Mellon University Hunt Collection, and the United States Embassy Collection. She has exhibited in the Bay Area, nationally and internationally and has screened her films in festivals and on television in the US and abroad.

Elizabeth Sher at Mercury 20 Gallery

Artist’s website



February 12
March 20
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Mercury 20 Gallery
475 25th Street
Oakland, CA 94612 United States
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