Sharon Guy—the art of female fortitude
Our PBAA featured artist for August is Sharon Guy, the member who also serves as our coordinator of gallery exhibits.
Though Sharon grew up in Southern California, she took her first painting class in Carson City, Nevada in 1986. “It became a life-changing event,” she recalls. “After speaking to my family, I made the decision to go back to college and focus on art.”
She adds that, “Fun, exciting, stimulating—just a few adjectives to describe my experience. The box I lived in suddenly imploded from the knowledge I was acquiring and changed the direction of my life.”
After many successful showings, Sharon then moved to Chicago to pursue a Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Illinois, Chicago. And she reports that it was different from her more technically based studies in Nevada because the Chicago Master’s Program was conceptually driven.
With her MFA focused on Women Studies, Sharon had several opportunities to show her art work in Chicago, but after a few months trying to determine the direction of her work, she and her husband decided to leave the country.
“Our first year of travel took us to Cambodia, where we taught English for an Australian language school, but I still managed to complete a body of work pertaining to my experiences in Phnom Penh and had a showing in an expat gallery,” she reports.
The Peace Corps came next, and another teaching experience, this time in Ethiopia.
Says Sharon, “All of these experiences have informed my artwork, in both my world perspective and my continued interest in the lives of women. You have a whole new appreciation for being an American woman when confronted with the day-to-day lives of third-world women.”
So, on returning home, Sharon had new material to work with and a new perspective of the diverse lives of the female species that is reflected in her current work.
As Sharon explains, “Homage to the Gee’s Bend Quilters, is a tribute to the shear fortitude and resilience that these women demonstrated throughout their lives. Against appalling conditions for these African American women, they created a subversive collection of quilts that defied the definition of ‘what is art?’ They’ve been a regenerating force in my life and have motivated me to expand my use of materials in making art. Thank you, ladies!”