Isham, Sheila

  • Mythical Escapade CLIV, 1996 Collage on Paper 36” x 48.5”
  • Mythical Escapade CLV, 1996 Collage on Paper 48.5” x 32.5”
  • Mythical Escapade CLVI, 1997 Collage on Paper 46” x 37”
  • Mythical Escapade CLVIII, 1997 Collage on Paper 35” x 27.5”
  • Mythical Escapade CLX, 1997 Collage on Paper 37.25” x 30”
  • Mythical Escapade CXI (Eagle), 1997 Collage on Paper 6” x 29.5”
  • Mythical Escapade CXIV (Cougar), 1993 Collage on Paper 29.5” x 36.5”
  • Mythical Escapade CXL, 1995 Collage on Paper 33” x 47.5”
  • Mythical Escapade CXLII, 2005 Collage on Paper 37.5” x 30”
  • Mythical Escapade LXX, 1991 Collage on Paper 49” x 37”
  • Mythical Escapade CLIII, 1996 Collage on Paper 48.5” x 36.5”
  • #376 Cosmic Earth - Bull Series LXVII, 1994 - Oil on linen, 47” x 81 1/4”
  • #363 Cosmic Earth - Bull Series LIII, 1992 - Oil on linen, 76 1/4” x 79”
  • #354 Cosmic Earth - Bull Series XXXV, 1992 - Oil on linen, 76” x 77 1/2”
  • #338 Cosmic Earth - Bull Series XX, 1990 - Oil on linen, 78 1/2” x 52”
  • #322 Cosmic Earth - Bull Series III, 1989 - Oil on linen, 74” x 77”
  • Art Boxes
  • COMIC MYTH XXXI - 2011 Nepalese Paper on Japanese Rice Paper 30" x 32"
  • COMIC MYTH XVII - 2011 Nepalese Paper on Japanese Rice Paper 25" x 21"
  • COMIC MYTH IV - 2011 Nepalese Paper on Japanese Rice Paper 29" x 24"
  • COMIC MYTH VIII - 2011 Nepalese Paper on Japanese Rice Paper 21" x 14"
  • COMIC MYTH XI - 2011 Nepalese Paper on Japanese Rice Paper 28" x 19"
  • COMIC MYTH XLIII - 2011 Nepalese Paper on Japanese Rice Paper 20" x 27"

American Contemporary

The art of Sheila Isham brings the viewer into an aesthetic realm of nature and spirituality. For Isham, the human and animal worlds are one, and it is this wise community of nature that inhabits her canvases. Edward Solanski, critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer, noted: “Isham’s work is ultimately not about describing or symbolizing but about generating life force.”

Mythical Escapade Series

“These works have a sense of hovering between permanence and fragility. Her almost amorphous, primal figures resemble dogs, bulls, apes, skulls, sea serpents, fantastic fish and birds which float against a background of shattered rainbow luminosity. Such figures are reminiscent of shadows recalled from our ancient collective subconscious and caught in an ongoing hallucination where they exist in a bizarre suspension between reality and dreams. These are ominous and omnipresent obscure creatures. Some mingle with natural delicate floral motifs. Such images of opposition exude a tension verging on a psychedelic experience.”
– M. J. Link
Art Critic, Georgia Museum of Art

On October 13, 2004 the Russian Museum opened a retrospective on the life and work of acclaimed American artist, Sheila Isham, in the Engineering Castle. The exhibit comprises 50 years of the artist’s career that brings together a lifetime of travels across the globe, through numerous disparate cultures, and artistic influences and styles. Few artists of the 20th and early 21st centuries can boast such a unique and vivid voyage in creativity.

 

Education

University of Geneva, Switzerland; 1948-49
Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania, USA; B.A. 1950
Berlin Academy of Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany; 1950-54
Studied Classical Chinese Calligraphy, Hong Kong; 1962-65

Public Collections

Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
Brockton Art Center, Brockton, Massachusetts
Castellani Museum of Art, Niagara, New York
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, Georgia
High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia
Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC
Library of Congress, Washington, DC
Metropolitan Museum and Art Center, Miami, FL
Milwaukee Art Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN
Museum of Modern Art, New Orleans, Louisiana
Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York
National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
Oklahoma Art Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples, Florida
San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CONN
United States Embassy Residences, in conjunction with The Art in Embassies Program,
United States Department of State (over sixty embassies throughout the world)

Corporate Collections

Peat Marwick Mitchell and Company, Washington, DC
Bendix, Washington, DC; Colombia, Maryland
Rich Products, Buffalo, New York
Cannon Corporation, Washington, DC; Buffalo, NY
Burton Boards, Burlington, Vermont

Selected Private Collections

Mr. Jake Carpenter
Mr. Graham Gund
Mr. Seymour H. Knox III
Mr. and Mrs. Harold Newman
Mr. and Mrs. Godfrey Rockefeller

Solo Major Museum Exhibitions

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; 1961
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; 1974
Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; 1974, 1981
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Miami, Florida; 1977
Museum of Modern Art, New Orleans, Louisiana; 1997
National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution; 1981
Georgia Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia; 1993
Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples, Florida; 1993
Fernbank – Museum of Natural History, Atlanta, Georgia; 1995
Russian Museum, Marble Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia; 1998
Russian State Museum, St. Michaels Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia; 2004

Solo Gallery Exhibitions

Galerie Springer, Berlin, Germany; 1954
Bader Gallery, Washington, DC; 1960, 1962
Chatam Galleries, Hong Kong; 1964
Nihonbashi Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; 1964
Byron Gallery, New York, New York; 1966
Jefferson Place Gallery, Washington, DC; 1968, 1969, 1970, 1974
Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, New York; 1969, 1971, 1998
French & Company, New York, New York; 1970
American Cultural Center, Paris, France; 1973
Fischbach Gallery, New York, New York; 1973
Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts; 1975
Pyramid Galleries Ltd., Washington, DC; 1976
United States State Department Exhibition, Washington, DC; 1978
Osuna Gallery, Washington, DC; 1980
Addison Ripley Gallery, Washington, DC; 1982
Phoenix II Gallery, Washington, DC; 1982
Vered Gallery, East Hampton, New York; 1985, 1986
Benton Gallery, Southampton, New York; 1986, 1987, 1990, 1992
Amerika Haus, Berlin, West Germany; 1988
Galerie Springer, Berlin, West Germany; 1988
Ruth Siegel Gallery, New York, New York; 1990
Amerika Haus, Cologne, Germany; 1990
Central Europe Gallery, Prague, Czechoslovakia; 1992
Eri Gallery, Budapest, Hungary; 1994
Cultural Center of Zalaegerszeg, Hungary; 1995
American Center, Sofia, Bulgaria; 1995
Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest, Rumania; 1995
Gallery Mx, Riga, Latvia; 1998
Arlene Bujese Gallery, East Hampton, New York; 1998
Gregory Gallery, New York, New York; 1999
Ericson Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; 2000
Canaday Library, Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania; 2000
Onisaburo Gallery, Interfaith Center of New York, New York; 2001
Shridharani Art Gallery, New Delhi, India; 2002
Island Arts Gallery, Newport, Rhode Island; 2001, 2003

Traveling Exhibitions

Selected works of Sheila Isham, organized by Osuna Gallery, Washington, DC; traveled to Miami, New Orleans, the West Indies, and throughout South America; 1977
Recent Paintings and Works on Paper, sponsored by USIA; travelled to New Delhi, Bombay, and Boroda, India; 1989
“Cosmic Earth Bull Series”, Oil Paintings and “Mythical Escapade Series” – Collages; traveling through Central Europe and Russia aided by Sauros Foundation and USIA, 1992-1999

Selected Group Exhibitions

Prints
1959 Print Council of America
Library of Congress, Washington, DC
“14th Area Exhibition,” Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
1960 Library of Congress, Washington, DC
1960 Boston Museum Print Show, Boston, MA
1960 Brooklyn Museum Annual Print Show, Brooklyn, New York
1962 Library of Congress, Washington, DC
“l5th Area Exhibition,” Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
1963 Library of Congress, Washington, DC
1971 “Graphics Multiples,” Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York

Paintings
1967 “18th Area Exhibition,” Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
1970 “Washington, 20 Years,” Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland
1971 “New Washington Painting,” Hayden Gallery, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1972 “Three American Painters,” Darthea Speyer Gallery, Paris, France
1973 “Flowing Form,” The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida; The Loch Haven Art Center, Orlando, Florida; The Le Moyne Art Foundation, Tallahassee, Florida
1974 “Contemporary Religious Imagery in American Art,” Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida
1975 “Works on Paper,” Elkon Gallery, New York, New York
1984 “Poets and Painters,” Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York
2004 Arlene Bujese Gallery, East Hampton, NY

Professional Affiliations

Member of the Board, Southampton Cultural Center, Southampton, New York
Member, Art Advisory Committee of Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York

Selected Bibliography

Leading Articles – Newspapers
The Washington Post, 1960, 1972, 1974 The Statesman, New Delhi, 1989
New York Herald Tribune, 1961 Newsday, 1990
The Washington Star, 1974, 1981 The Prague Post, 1992
Buffalo Evening News, 1974 The East Hampton Star, 1998, 1990, 1991, 1996, 1999, 2000
Aiken Standard, 1986 The Baltic Times, 1998
New York Times, 1988, 1998 Smena, St. Petersburg, Russia, 1998
Berliner Illustrierte, 1989 The Southampton Independent, 1999
The Times of India, 1989 Philadelphia Inquirer, 2000
Hindustan Times, New Delhi, India, 2002
Leading Articles – Magazines & Books
Arts, 1970
Leading Essays for Catalogues written by Edward Fry: Brockton, 1972; Corcoran, 1974; Albright Knox, 1981
Leading Essay for Travelling Show Exhibition written by Gene Baro, 1977
New York Post Magazine, 1979
News, Smithsonian Institution, 1981
The Buffalo News Magazine, 1981
The Washington Post Magazine, 1982
Profiles on Women Artists (book), Alexander Russo, 1985
Leading Essays for Catalogues written by Donald Kuspit: Springer Gallery, Amerika Haus,
Berlin, 1988; Amerika Haus, Cologne, 1990; and Travelling Exhibition, Central Europe, 1990-95
SunStorm Magazine, 1988
Span, USIA Magazine, India, 1989
Quest Magazine, 1990
American Artist, 1997
Leading Essay for Catalogue written by Sasha Borovsky, Russian Museum, Marble Palace,
St. Petersburg, Russia, 1998
Art News, New York, 2000
Hamptons Magazine, 2000
Reference Works
Who’s Who in America
Who’s Who in American Women

Films

“Painting Poems: East and West,” Smithsonian Institution video, 1981
“The Voyager,” On Track Video, 1985
“Transformation,” Work in progress, 1987
“An Artist’s Odyssey,” Odyssey Associates, Inc., 1987
“Wild Animals”, Ovid, 1996

Teaching Positions Held & Lectures

Chinese University, Hong Kong: Contemporary Arts; 1962-65
United States Information Services Lecture: Paris, 1972; Haiti, 1976; Bombay, 1982; New Delhi, 1987
Washington Women’s Art Center, Washington, DC; 1977, 1979
George Washington University Gallery, Washington, DC; 1978
Smithsonian Institution, “China and I,” Lecture Series: East and West, Painting Poems by Sheila Isham, Washington, DC; February, 1981
Bryn Mawr College, “China and I,” Lecture Series, Pennsylvania; 1982
Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York; 1985
Lecture Series on Travelling Show, India, 1989
United States Information Service, New Delhi, Bombay, 1989
Lecture Series on Traveling Show, Central Europe and Russia, 1992-99
Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York; 2001

Chronology

1948-49 Studied at University of Geneva, Switzerland
1950 B.A., Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania
1950 Married Heyward Isham, Foreign Service Officer
1950-54 Berlin Academy of Fine Arts, Germany
1955-57 Lived in Moscow, Russia
1957-62 Lived in Washington, DC
1962-65 Lived in Hong Kong
1965-71 Lived in Washington, DC
1971-73 Lived in Paris, France and Southampton, New York
1973-77 Lived in Haiti and Southampton, New York
Present Living in New York City and Southampton, New York
Children: Christopher Isham, Ralph Isham