Sally Shapiro

Yellow Pages

Sally Shapiro was born in 1947 in Stockton, California. Her first drawing was published in a Children’s magazine when she was but 18 months old… a woman with worry lines on her forehead. As a child she studied piano and ballet; she was talented at both, but age 14 she discovered her need to paint and do sculpture. At 15 she saw Rodin’s work in San Francisco and knew this is what she could and wanted to do. Upon graduating from High School, Sally received a monetary award and scholarship to California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. She then left for Davenport, a small town near Santa Cruz. She was to work alone for the next twenty years during which she painted large odysseys; sculpted some in paper mache; traveled to Paris with jazz musicians and spent a year in South America. In ‘87’ she took figure sculpture from Steve Kaltenbach and ended up with her first bronze commission, “Agelessness,” a life size sculpture featured at the California State University, Sacramento Children’s Center. Four years later, the wife of David Shapiro and mother of 4-year-old Davy, Sally won her 2nd bronze commission, “From Warmth to Openness,” a life-size sculpture at Sacramento City College’s Berneice Clayton Child Development Center. In 2003 the Lengyel Monument created by Sally was installed on Main Street, Georgetown. In 1997 Sally was asked to open an Art Gallery in Georgetown, California where she and her family lived. “The Gallery,” was a vehicle for her and other local artists to develop their work. It was a seven-year operation. Between 1997 and 2005 Sally worked and showed sculptures at Trilogy Gallery, Placerville, California and “Image 13” Gallery; San Francisco. After 2005 she and family moved to Sacramento. She began casting her 10 piece series, “Women in a Man’s World, “, and showing them at the Art Foundry Gallery on R Street, Sacramento In November, 2013 Sally was a featured artist at the Temporary Contemporary Gallery in Sacramento. Her ten piece of work is called, “Woman in a Man’s World, …Trained to Accommodate and Deceive.” Each piece is unique and has an allegorical tale to tell. she had to invent a unique bronze process in order to tell their stories adequately. As she created the pieces two evolutions were set in motion.
One is the evolution of the woman depicted and their progressive stories and the second is the evolution of her creative process. Example, “La Linda,” her first piece, is a pretty but empty vessel: A young woman of little experience thinking only of being pretty. She made the bronze accordingly, closed, no negative space, no face and in a stiff, but alluring pose.
Fast forward to her forth piece, “Hand Maid.” created by casting my own hands which formed the entire figure telling this story: A woman creates herself out of her own hands-on work. She is also vulnerable to the touch of others and sometimes suffers from being handled. Now see number 9, “Robot Girl/Goddeess Pose.” At this point she is using a lot of negative space. Her legs are made of small figures, (pole dancers and housewives}. Her belly is a rose in full bloom and she is looking down peacefully and protectively. She listened to her inner voice and realized her capacity to lead humanity through her powerful nurturing qualities. The motivating factor in each piece has been to show on the outside what is happening on the inside, from submissiveness to power, even to showing false power in Sakalo Dharma, number six.
She has garnered the trappings of material wealth so much so that she can no longer move. Her work has been drawn from personal experience and is non-derivative. Her major influence has come from her intimate knowledge of the free jazz movement; her year on the road, literally, from California to Rio de Janeiro; her life as a wife and mother and her life long participation in dance (Ballet, Belly Dance, Folk Dance and Samba).
The overall thesis or theme of the body of work is that women are valuable as woman, the givers and nurturers of life. Women should not have to do what men do to be respected and valued. On the contrary, men should become more nurturing and respectful of life in order to be of value; men should look to emulate woman in their instinctual caring capacity.

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