international painting annual 1 exhibition-in-print
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Sheldon Tapley
Danville, KY

Centre College, Stodghill Professor of Art

page 38


These three works were all done from life in my studio. It is a 19th century apartment, with a large fireplace and tall windows and ceilings. Well past it's former glory, the apartment is filled with my tools and the miscellaneous objects I collect for still life subjects; also, with flowers (alive, dead and some long-dried), art books, and photographs. Painting from life, working only by northern light, is one of my favorite ways to work, but I am not a purist. Any source will do, if it provides an image I want, and my fidelity to that source can vary. A still life arranged or found in the studio may result in a painting that looks just like it; but that is rare, for me. Perishable things, like flowers or food, are constantly replaced, requiring imagination to knit last week's portion together with this week's. Imagination is more than a simple tool, though: it is the partner of observation; together they are the true source of any satisfying painting. Doing well with both at once requires very close attention to the internal world, as much as the external. Painting is a slow process, allowing much reconsideration; it is hard to know if I ever have it right. The passage with the fireplace mantle in "Still Life With Flowers" is simpler now than it was the first time I painted it. Then, it showed the mantle covered by a pile of clutter: a clip-on lamp, an extension cord, a drafting compass, several large envelopes, and a postcard of a Frederic Church painting showing Cotopaxi erupting. It took several days to paint all that, and I was pleased with it. After realizing that it had to go, I was surprised at the amount of paint required to cover it up.


born: 1959, Maracaibo, Venezuela


University of Nebraska-Lincoln, MFA Printmaking, 1983
Grinnell College, BA Art, 1980

selected awards/honors

Stodghill Professorship, Endowed Chair; Centre College,;2005 to present
Martha & Merrit deJong Memorial Artist-in-Residence; Evansville Museum of Art, History and Science; Indiana, 2004
Al Smith Fellowship, Kentucky Arts Council, 1998

selected publications

"New Old Masters"; exhibition review by Victoria Dalkey. Sacramento, CA: The Sacramento Bee, March 2008
"Visions: Selections From the James T. Dyke Collection of Contemporary Drawings"; illustrated catalog with essay by Townsend Wolfe. Arkansas Art Center/Naples Museum of Art: 2007
"Sheldon Tapley"; exhibition catalog, essay by John Streetman; Evansville Museum of Art, History and Science; 2004
American Artist magazine; "Where Past and Present Meet", by Bill Creevy. Cover illustration and feature article. November, 1999

selected solo or two-person exhibits

Center For Contemporary Art, Sacramento: Sheldon Tapley; Sacramento, CA, 2008
Evansville Museum of Art, History and Science: Sheldon Tapley; 2004
Tatistcheff Gallery: Sheldon Tapley; New York, NY 2002
Tatistcheff Gallery: Sheldon Tapley Recent Pastels; New York, NY 1998

selected group shows

M.A. Doran Gallery: National Contemporary Realism, Tulsa, OK, 2010
Manifest Gallery: NUDE, Cincinnati, OH, 2009
Naples Museum of Art and Arkansas Art Center: Visions: Selections From the James T. Dyke Collection of Contemporary Drawings, 2008   
Tatistcheff Gallery: Dances of Death, New York, NY, 2005

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