Social Fabric

Receiver by Sharon Shapiro
49″x50″; colored pencil, graphite, collage, and photo transfers on paper; 2021. Courtesy of the artist.


Social Fabric: Sharon Shapiro

at Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
4 June-23 July 2021

In “Social Fabric”, Sharon Shapiro engages multiple dichotomies: reality and fantasy, utopian and dystopian. Inspired by personal events, local lore, and pop-cultural references, she presents a world where time coalesces and collapses. Beauty serves as a temptation for the viewer, but cracks in the artifice reveal obscured narratives and hidden meanings upon closer inspection. Using nostalgia to assail our failing social memory, her work challenges the viewer to differentiate between mythology and history and question broader cultural narratives. Shapiro confronts the sexism and racism of the past and present with imagery from vintage Ebony magazines, old postcards of waterfalls and scenic parks, 1960s-era Better Homes and Gardens magazines, and her own recent photographs of models in abandoned pools. Chronicling the complexities of growing up female in America, particularly the South, the works knit together disparate yet coexistent realities punctuated by recurring images of swimming pools, American flags, chandeliers, and lambs. “Social Fabric” lures us into the past to force us to confront our life-long complicity in America’s history.

Stars and Stripes by Sharon Shapiro
47″x54″; oil, acrylic, and aerosol on canvas; 2021. Courtesy of the artist.

“Social Fabric” was curated by Kristen Chiacchia. A catalogue of the exhibition is available from the gallery. Sharon Shapiro took part in Kolaj Institute’s Curating Collage Workshop with the Fleming Museum of Art in October-November 2020. Shapiro was also featured in an article about her work by Elyana Shamselangeroodi and Ric Kasini Kadour in Kolaj 32.

(Text adapted from the gallery’s press materials)


Second Street Gallery
115 2nd Street SE
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902 USA
(434) 977-7284

Thursday-Saturday, 11AM-5PM