American artist Lorraine Shemesh investigates and abstracts the human form. She has developed a unique type of contemporary realism that marries figure-based painting with abstract expressionist concerns. Shemesh has worked in various media, including painting, drawing, fiber, paper, and clay. She grew up on The Palisades overlooking the Hudson River and studied ballet as a child before discovering painting. Her focus on intertwining movement began at this early juncture and is the connecting thread that links her various bodies of work. Shemesh often uses professional dancers as her models, anonymous and suspended in space, the lines and curves of their forms suggestive of motion and meaning. She is interested in the spontaneous nature of a certain kind of mark making that precludes illustration and transcends photorealism both in context and painterly acumen. Shemesh’s most recognizable work features the play of refracted light and pattern on figures submerged in water. These images of everyday life are made foreign and spectacular by their treatment.
After receiving her master’s degree from The Tyler School of Art, where she was awarded a fellowship to study in Rome, Italy, Shemesh immediately began exhibiting her work in solo and group shows, as well as accepting teaching positions at The Rhode Island School of Design and Amherst College. Her work was represented by the Allan Stone Gallery for thirty years and can be found in public, private, and museum collections throughout the US. She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally at The Butler Institute of American Art in Ohio, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The National Academy of Design Museum in New York, Musee de Carouge in Switzerland, Galerij Marc Van Meensel in Zelem-Halem, Belgium, and in Landesverband Bildender Kunstler, in Kiel, Germany among others. She was elected to Artist Membership by her peers in 2005 at the National Academy of Design. Shemesh lives in New York City