What are you working on right now? I am currently working on a series of still-figure paintings and drawings that feature lather, as in bubbles and shampoo. I got interested in that about a year ago, first using it as a textural device, a way to break up space formally in a painting, but then I’m also interested in the way it can be used to conceal and reveal at the same time. How it can be both childlike and sexual, how it has those connotations too.
Painter Sharon Shapiro won Best Visual Artist in C-VILLE’s 2009 annual Best Of issue. She says that some of her favorite artists outside her medium include Wes Anderson and Michel Gondry.
Locally, who would you like to collaborate with? Clay Witt would be fun to collaborate with, especially with what I’m doing now with lather, because he uses other elements in his painting that I feel act as a screen or a veil too. He’s very poetic, and he likes language a lot, which I think could be interesting. I’d also love to work with Edward Thomas. We’ve been friends for about 12 years but we haven’t collaborated yet.
Tell us about your day job. I mainly try to sell art, but I also teach. I taught at Randolph-Macon Women’s College, which is now Randolph College, from 2002 to 2004, but it was tough going back and forth, and I was a single mom, and I thought I would probably make the same amount of money teaching in my studio if I could get a group together to paint. So I teach once a week in my studio. It’s not every single week, and I take the summers off. I just got married, and haven’t taught since December, but I’m getting another group going in April. I’ve usually got anywhere from three to seven students.
What music are you listening to lately? I’ve been going back and listening to some old stuff from the ‘90s, like Sneaker Pimps and Portishead. I’m also always getting turned on to newer stuff by my daughter, like MGMT. Stuff that it’s easy to paint to, like old R.E.M., is always good. I also listen to The Flaming Lips a lot.
What is your first artistic memory from childhood? I remember going to this museum in New York, probably the Guggenheim or the Whitney, because it was modern. But we walked in—and I barely remember, because I was like four or five—but an artist had done this enormous sculpture of a spider. It was kind of scary but also fascinating at the same time, because I’d never seen a piece of artwork that large, and I just remember thinking that it was the coolest thing.
Do you have any pets? I have a pug dog named Turkey. She’s a good studio companion. My daughter named her.
What were you doing when we called? I was cleaning my studio, which I seem to be doing a lot of these days. I was actually unpacking some stuff. I just had a show outside of Kansas City at the University of Central Missouri, and the works just came back the other day, so I’ve been unpacking the prints, getting the work back on the walls.
If you’re cooking a meal for yourself, what do you make? I don’t really cook anymore, because I married a chef. I used to cook a lot of salad, with everything in it. Accompanying something easy, like grilled fish or pasta.
What’s your blind date dealbreaker? A McDonnell voter. And if they’re into playing Frisbee or water sports, that could be a bummer. Definitely if a person keeps talking constantly about themselves.
Favorite building? The Pantheon. My husband and I just got married, at the McCormick Observatory in Charlottesville, but it reminds me so much of the Pantheon, the dome with the hole in the ceiling. It’s an incredible building. It’s like being inside an eyeball or something.
What piece of public art do you wish you had in your private collection? I’d love to have a Jenny Saville painting. She’s a British contemporary painter, about my age or maybe a little bit younger. She’s amazing. I’d love to have a work of hers, “Hyphen.” I think she just has the coolest collection.
What would you do if you knew that you couldn’t fail? I would swim in the coral reefs in Hanalei Bay in Hawaii. I’m not much of a swimmer, but I’m working on it.
What is your favorite board game? Scrabble. Apples to Apples is good too.
Less than a week before opening night, Miller Murray Susen, the director and author of Four County Players’ holiday adaptation of Little Women, has one priority: to keep things calm. “I’ve never directed a full-length play and been in charge of adding in all the tech stuff,” said Susen. “I
While functionally little more than a cliffhanger setup for the trilogy-and-a-half’s presumably action-packed finale, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 boasts the least likely plot in a PG-13 blockbuster in recent memory. And though, as with most young adult fiction, the central conflict
In 1980 a group of children living in a government housing project in Washington, D.C. formed the Junk Yard Band after witnessing the performances of go-go groups in the neighborhood. They used makeshift instruments, banging on pots, pans, hubcaps and buckets and the JYB gained popularity as
More than once, my father has mentioned a desire to trace our family tree. I only understand this practice in abstract terms though. The closest concrete example I know of such a family tree comes not from any genetic kinship but rather attempts by friends to detail the shared ancestry of
Venture into the American Midwest as UVA Drama presents The Rimers of Eldritch. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson peels back the motives behind a Missouri murder and assault, uncovering the murky morality of a small town in 1966. Director Doug Grissom’s production takes a
Feed your intellect and a person in need at Thieving Magpie’s good-WILL-cville production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. The Bard’s classic romantic comedy follows shipwrecked and separated twins Viola and Sebastian along a roller coaster of mistaken identities and proclamations of love. The
Think of all the reasons you loved (or grew to love) the first Dumb and Dumber. It was goofy, gross, immature, idiotic and proud of it. Now take each of those qualities and tack on “in a bad way” and you’ve just described its sequel. Arriving 20 years later, yet still feeling undercooked, and
For many artists the act of creation is inspired not by the need for intellectual exercise or profound exploration as much as the need to scratch an itch that simply won’t quit. Cate West Zahl, whose work appears alongside her father’s in the “Father/Daughter Art Show” presented by New City
Have you seen the one where they catch the bad guy with an algorithm? This past August, an MIT research team announced a feat worthy of this sort of summer blockbuster. It found a means to re-create sound waves from soundless video; the team created a “visual microphone.” A demonstration of the
Acoustic folk singer Jessica Lea Mayfield digs in on her third album Make My Head Sing…, with ’90s-era distorted riffs lending a darker tone to her acclaimed, emotionally charged songwriting. The Ohio native (who frequently credits Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl as an influence) takes an
Performers are typically talkative. Sure, some are eccentric. And some have bouts of social awkwardness. But for the most part, people willing to get up on stage to entertain others are willing to talk about themselves. Not so Lucas MacFadden, a.k.a. Cut Chemist. The man who first made it big
Over the Rhine Blood Oranges in the Snow/Great Speckled Dog Records Folk duo Over the Rhine likes to do things differently. Blood Oranges in the Snow—the third holiday-themed release of their career—isn’t your typical feel-good collection of familiar hymns or classic songs; it’s more of a
D.C.’s punchy pop trio Jukebox the Ghost brings youthful optimism and thoughtful darker themes together on its new self-titled album. Guitarist Tommy Siegel and drummer Jesse Kristin lay down uptempo beats as frontman Ben Thornewill tickles the ivories and doles out contemplative, infectious
Though UVA has had more than its fair share of renowned professors over the years, the name Charles Smith may not ring any bells. Raised in Augusta County and trained at the Corcoran School of Art, Smith was an acclaimed printmaker known for intricately carved block prints as well as his
In what has already been a surprisingly stellar and abundant year for family entertainment and superhero flicks, casual moviegoers could be forgiven for viewing Disney’s decision to throw its hat in the ring with Big Hero 6, a film that attempts both genres at once, as being driven more by cold
In an age when singers are obsessed with tweaking and expanding classic genres, it’s nice to find a band dedicated to preserving musical heritage. Cabinet is unapologetically devoted to bluegrass in the classic Appalachian tradition. With rhythm marked by fast-picked banjos and energetic
Marie Landragin just didn’t fit in. How could she? She was born in Australia to French parents and then found herself in the early ’90s going to high school in Culpeper, Virginia, population 45,000. “At the time, I definitely suffered some culture shock,” Landragin said. “I think for two years
Lucinda Williams is on a roll. After a feverish songwriting spell, she recorded 30 tracks, 20 of which made the cut on her new double album Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone. The extended effort checks off a couple of new accomplishments for Williams, the longstanding songstress who’s
In a desert of feature length movies, it’s a delight to stumble upon this year’s slate of short films at the Virginia Film Festival. There are four separate programs of shorts, featuring a total of 29 short films—a grand total that’s much higher than in recent years. These films range in genre
Although he may not be a household name, Pierce Pettis has been a forerunner of the singer-songwriter scene since the mid-’80s. His original songs have energized the genre and inspired covers by Garth Brooks, Suzanne Vega, and Shawn Colvin. During his 30-year career, Pettis has released more