A public garden & cultural center

Donna Sharrett

(Not So) Still Life 
Glyndor Gallery | April 5–July 4 

Donna Sharrett, Just Breathe, 2012, wedding gown, strips of bridesmaids dresses and doll’s clothes, black velvet dress, jewelry, rose petals, needlework, guitar strings, bone beads, dirt, beads and thread, 36” x 36”. Courtesy of the artist and Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York, NY.

Donna Sharrett’s intensely sewn pieces represent an amalgamation of memory through layered materials and significance. These works are influenced by memento mori, a medieval approach to still life that gained popularity during the 19th century as customs surrounding mourning and death became more elaborate. Hair jewelry was another common way of keeping a loved one close. Building her own interpretation of memento mori, Sharrett uses materials imbued with symbolism and employs a variety of
needlework techniques, including hand-sewing, quilting, embroidery, crochet and needle lace, all of which would have been familiar to Victorian women. The fabrics, notions and natural materials she employs are donated by friends and acquaintances. The two works on view here are part of the Love Songs series (2012–15). Here she uses guitar string ball ends in novel ways. Each title refers to a specific song: Lovesong is from Joan Armatrading’s 1989 song and Just Breathe is from Pearl Jam’s 2005 song. The series is dedicated to her brother, Scot Sharrett (1961–2001).

Sharrett describes herself as “artist, environmentalist, gardener and seamstress, social activist, accompanied by the sound track, which bookmarks my memories.” She has exhibited widely, with solo exhibitions at Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York, NY, where in 2015 the entire Love Song series was shown; Cheryl Pelavin Fine Art, New York, NY; and the Everson Museum, Syracuse, NY. Her work has been included in many group
exhibitions in the context of collage, textiles and craft. She earned a BFA from the School of Visual Arts. 

The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.