Cheryl Shanks is a fine artist, art instructor and artist representative living in Napa. As an instructor Cheryl has taught art for 18 years at levels ranging from kindergarten to college. At the primary level she instructs the foundations of art, which include teaching the masters in painting, design, drawing, and art history. At the college level she teaches encaustic painting, and mixed media that include photo alternative processes. She also teaches private workshops in the Bay Area.
Ms. Shanks has been a fine art photographer for eight years. In this time she has been juried into several regional, national and international art shows with her Being Woman Series. She has won many awards and has enjoyed five solo shows in the past seven years.
Cheryl is vice president and chief curator of the acclaimed Bay Area “Photo Irregulars” for whom she has arranged multiple shows for the group of eclectic photographers. She is also a member of Vineyard 360, an exclusive wine country photographic narrative portrayed with both words and extraordinary imagery.
She has taught at the Mendocino Art Center, Napa Valley College, and Solano College as a visiting and specialist artist.
As an artist representative she has afforded a noted Bay Area fine art photographer to be collected by the infamous Rene Di Rosa and the Crocker Museum in Sacramento, which was no small accolade on either front. Her foresight and tenacity enable her to promote art she believes “tell a story.”
Cheryl’s art studio is located on Mare Island at Mare Island Art Studios where you can visit her by appointment. There are also regular art shows, Open Studios and private gallery shows at Mare Island that she participates in.
About The Being Woman and All Things Girly Series…
Both series are my vision of the seen, the unseen, the silent, the not so silent, and all the curious little spaces that make up but a portion of life as a woman. My images merge a bit of human psychology with some structured visual representation, those being mannequins and a live model. The bare essence of this narrative suggests the rawness I feel, or have felt as a woman, it leaves me with honest vulnerability.
My perspective is that the imagery speaks for itself as I present visuals which are riddled with many suggested life experiences. It is not merely the images I capture, but rather the way with which I elect to conceptually present them. As an example, in my first series, Being Woman I, photos were printed on transparency film, attached to heavily grained wood and encased in an acrylic medium. There is a haunting roughness and beauty to how the grain in the birch depicts curves and lends to the depth of each image, and they are all unique, like the grain. In the second series, the way in which I illuminated the displayed art afforded them to become “larger than life” and “out there.”
In All Things Girly there is masked whimsy. The use of specific chintzy materials to render a somewhat child-like appearance, which is how it felt to construct, juxtaposed with images that are daring and provocative, gives the viewer a wide berth in which to interpret the pieces.
Part of the powerfulness in this body of work is my percieved wisdom that when stripped of all of the outer trappings, and in our naivete, we are human, we are feeling, we are needy. With the portrayal of itneractions between flesh and fiberglass the narrative becomes opulent with ironic innuendo. Interestingly enough, some viewers have queried if there is a “live” model in the images or confuse the two.