S.M. Shifflett @ Art Motel

Tanya by Suzanne ShifflettS.M. SHIFFLETT

At the forefront of artistic reflection about gender identity, San Francisco artist Shifflett represents the artistic dialogue about non heterosexual imagery and desire, a practice that has been for the most part ignored by museums and only recently studied in exhibits such Act Up, Harvard University (2009) and Hide/Seek: Difference, Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery (2011) signaling the beginning of true critical engagement with art that reflects a non heterosexual view of the world.

While for centuries, subject matter of traditional portrait painting has been powerful men or the women that “belonged” to them, Shifflett creates a new way of looking at femininity, through strong and often tough portraits. Building on the momentum of the 1970s feminist movement and the artists inspired by this social change, Shifflett successfully cultivates a sense of sexual appeal.

Shifflett challenges mainstream or heterodominant visualities and notions of socially coded ideas of normative sexuality, and rejects institutional, educational, religious, political constraints on the expression of sexuality.

                                                                                                                                  ~ Dr. Laura Henkel

The stunning work is significantly engaged with the politics of sex and beauty and is alternately shocking, beautiful, intimate and erotic as well as deeply germane to contemporary critical dialogues about art and meaning. Shifflett’s works are characterized by an unflinchingly tender examination of her subjects, their humanity exposed in their nudity, and the unembarrassed provocative beauty celebrated as if to say that beauty and sensuality take many forms. Drawing attention to the absence of LGBT people from historical and cultural narratives, Shifflett incisively points out the thin line between social inscribed viewpoints and ideas of obscenity.

“By inspiring a vigorous questioning of the function of art, erotic art pushes us to seriously question ourselves.” ~ S.M. Shifflett

Deeply introspective and accomplished, Shifflett holds her BA, Fine Art, Parsons School of Art, New York and the Portland School of Art. She exhibits internationally and her atelier, Modern Electric Studio, is located in San Francisco.

Tanya (2015), Oil on Canvas

Mink (2015), Oil on Canvas

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