Statement by Peggy Berk, Award Winning Interior Designer

Art: Go With Your Heart! Shreds by New York Artist Sheila Smith

I'm almost always surprised by my own art purchases. Intellectually, I would say I know exactly what I like. But then something totally different will grab me in a way I hadn't anticipated. That's how I felt when I first saw Sheila Smith's "Shreds," a recent series of acrylic and shredded paper paintings on canvas.

Reminiscent of the Abstract Expressionist and Non-Objective schools of the 50's, Shreds is all about color, texture and design. The works would beautifully complement  a modern interior that could benefit from a punch of color as well as some softer lines. 

Influenced by Joan Mitchell, Willem De Kooning and the repetitive, emphatic brush work of Van Gogh, Sheila returned to painting late last year after a decade of devoting her talents to art photography. Spurred by her own photographs of street art - from graffiti to rust stains on dumpsters -  she describes their effect on her as "so painterly that I felt the tug to return."

In the Shreds series, long strips of paper have taken on the central role of the flowing brush strokes seen in some of her earlier paintings, such as "Yellow Dream." Her appreciation for the beauty of the stroke she attributes to her father's wonderful handwriting,  while many other aspects of her work reflect her own light-hearted, fun-loving and engaged personality.

A number of pieces in the Shreds series by this Brooklyn-born, long time resident of Manhattan will be featured in a group show at the Caelum Gallery in Manhattan from July 14 - 25. If you're local, plan a visit to see Sheila's work. And, if you're in the market, you'll be happy to know that the works, which range in size from 11" x 14"  to 30" x 40", are very affordably priced.

- Peggy Berk

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