David Sheldon lives and works in Asheville, North Carolina. A multi-disciplined artist, his work has evolved over the years as both a painter and a sculptor.
Sheldon received a BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1984. His time at RISD included a formative year spent painting in Rome, Italy, as part of RISD’s European Honors Program. As a grad student, he brought sculpture into the mix. His thesis show for his MFA in 1990 at the University of Maryland incorporated large-scale, mixed-media paintings, as well as sculptural works. Mentors included internationally acclaimed sculptor, Anne Truitt, and monumental sculptor James Sanborn. Sheldon worked as an assistant to Sanborn on 'Kryptos' , installed at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, 1990. Sheldon continues to create cutting-edge sculptural works in metal, as well as provocative public art. Modernist sculpture, with its emphasis on the dynamics of form and space, continues to be a major influence in his work.
Regarding painting, Sheldon's new 'anthropological abstracts' are a return to an approach started over thirty years ago. He prefers to work large, as this invites him to bring his whole body into the metaphysical event: the act of painting. Spiritual, psychological, it becomes an exploration into the Subconscious: brutal, beautiful, ferocious, and mysterious...a cry into the Void, bringing forth beings, half-beings, different dimensions and states of being. The key is remaining impartial to all manifestations. Being 'witness' to his inner-self without judgement. A sort of 'seance in paint'.
As happens, the influence of Art History is latent and strong with Sheldon, and informs the approach to canvas as formal object, and the paint as a visceral medium, having its own voice and input into the process. The depiction of spiritual meaning and truth, as depicted over the epochs of Art History is deeply ingrained in Sheldon's subconscious, as well, and serve as both impetus for exploration and reservoir for approach and understanding. It's an approach that attempts to merge the aesthetics and spirituality of the old masters, with the aesthetics, vibrancy, and philosophies of contemporary art.
Regarding the sculptural works:
"To work in three dimensions consciously is an enthralling experience, akin to creating ‘spatial, spiritual music’. Often, I prefer to use what I call a ‘NASA aesthetic’, forms influenced by the immaculate instruments of space exploration.” With the scientific approach, Humanity’s search for meaning in the Cosmos involves direct exploration in the outer world. As an artist, my approach is on a more metaphysical level, allowing questions to stay alive in the work, as I explore the aesthetics of space and time. Exploration of the concepts of Beauty go hand in hand with the acquisition of Knowledge."
Regarding the landscapes:
"When I paint a landscape, I’m not attempting to transcribe some experience I’ve had in nature, by copying it onto canvas. Rather, I’m using an 'ecstatic moment' or experience in Nature, to create an abstract painting that is a sublime experience in its own right. The paint substance, plays an essential role in that process, rather than being a ‘means to an end’. The viscosity and substance of the paint and canvas are essential. Sunlight also, is an essential subject, on both a physical and spiritual plane. It becomes a play between the flat, formal qualities of the canvas, and the illusion of sunlight and space."
1984 Bachelors of Fine Arts, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI.
1990 Master of Fine Arts, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.
2022 "Eco-Friendly", 10' high, aluminum entrance sculpture for the Phinizy Water Research Center,
2020 “Guidance Tower” , 15’ high, aluminum sculpture, commissioned as the frontispiece for the
City of Roanoke’s new 811/E911 Call Center, Roanoke, VA.
2020 “Fa Sol” , 8’ high, steel sculpture, selected for the Decatur Artway, Decatur, Georgia.
2019 “Orion” , 8’ high, steel sculpture, selected for ‘Salmagundi XXIII”’, by the city of Rocky Mount,NC.
Installed at the AmTrack station in Rocky Mount.
2019 “Oracle”, 8’ high, aluminum sculpture, selected for ‘Roanoke Rising’, by the city of Roanoke, VA.
Installed in Elmwood Art Park, in downtown Roanoke.
2018 “Mars Cutter”, Madison County Manufacturing Art Park, 10’ high sculpture, steel, Mars Hill, NC.
2018 “Ariel”, City of Asheville, Office of the Mayor. Wall sculpture on view in
Mayor Elisabeth Manheimer’s office.
2017 “Alpha Centauri”, Uptown Tree Project, Greeley, Colorado. 20’ high aluminum sculpture.
2016 “Birds of Different Feathers”, Uptown Tree Project, Greeley, Colorado. 20’ high sculptural “tree”
made of one inch thick, painted aluminum forms.
2021. Mark Bettis Gallery, “Finding the Light”, sculpture and paintings by David Sheldon.
2020 Mark Bettis Gallery, “Affirmation and Renewal: Connecting to Nature,
New Works by David Sheldon”, sculpture and paintings by David Sheldon.
2018 Tointon Gallery for the Visual Arts, “Murmuration “ Paintings by David Sheldon.
“Field Guide to the Birds of North America” intimate abstractions. Greeley, Colorado.
2017 High Point University, “Ascension”, paintings and sculpture, High Point, NC.
2015 Satellite Gallery, “Dreams and Structures, New Work by David Sheldon”, paintings and sculpture.
1997 Troyer, Fitzpatrick, Lassman Gallery, “Zoologica Mysterium”, paintings and sculpture,
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2019 Asheville Area Arts Council, “Beyond Knowing”, An engaging, interactive, multi-media group
show, curated by David Sheldon.
2019 Mark Bettis Studio/Gallery, “828”, Oil paintings on wood, with an Asheville theme.
2017 Ciel Gallery, Charlotte, NC. “Build” group show, sculptural installation.
1995 Ellipse Art Center, “Tributaries”, sculpture, juror, Lee Fleming, art critic, Washington
1995 Maryland Art Place, “Critic’s Picks Show”, paintings, Juror, Faye Hirsch, New York art
critic, Baltimore, MD.
1994 Arlington Arts Center, “Annual Juried Show”, sculpture,Juror,Howard Fox, curator
2021 Buffalo Creek Art Center, Sculptor Residency. Created "Buffalo Creek Quartet", steel.
2010 Individual Artist Project Grant, awarded by the Arts Council of Henderson County
and the North Carolina Arts Council.
1995 Awarded First Place, “Tributaries”, group sculpture show, Arlington, VA,
by juror, Lee Fleming, art critic for the Washington Post.
1991 Individual Artist Grant, Maryland State Arts Council.
1990 Smithsonian Institute Internship, awarded to the model making department.
1982 European Honors Program, RISD, one year of study in Rome, Italy.
2008– 2013 Blue Ridge Community College, Flat Rock, North Carolina.
Instructor of Art : Painting, Art Appreciation, Drawing I, II.
2008-2013 Brevard College, Brevard, North Carolina. Painting, Drawing.
2010-2012 Painting Coordinator, The Green River Preserve, Cedar Mountain, NC
1990-91 Principle Sculptor’s Assistant to James Sanborn, “Kryptos”, sculptural installation
on the grounds of the Central Intelligence Agency, Langley, VA.
1992-94 Artist Assistant to William Calfee, Sculptor/painter and originating chairman,
George Washington University Art Department, Washington, D.C.
Public and Private Collections / Nationally, Internationally.