"A Dream of Monticello'' (1996), informed by revelations about Thomas Jefferson, portrays this elegant founding father closely attended by a grim black servant, as an indifferent white female nude reclines in front of them rigged out with red slippers and a pair of headphones.
Equally enigmatic is another of her late paintings, A Dream of Monticello (1996) in which a female nude wearing headphones reclines with one red pump on and one off. Thomas Jefferson, and presumably one of his sons with Sally Hemmings are standing just behind. In the background are two triumphal obelisks flanking an almost Dali-esque clock, presumably the clock at Monticello. In the foreground is a beautifully rendered silver ewer, a known Monticello objét.
This combination of careful observation, juxtaposition, fantastical elements, often nude woman portrayed in scenes with clothed men, triumphal arches are all rendered in a curiously flat, highly charged and exquisitely colored dreamscape-like settings are like glimpses of a private world, rendered for us by the artist to make of them what we will.
Sharrer’s paintings became increasingly surreal as she aged, and the SCMA exhibit features a full range of often absurdly funny images: bent, dancing cutlery (Two Dogs in a Still Life); nude women in dreamlike locales, like one that includes Thomas Jefferson (A Dream of Monticello); and human figures juxtaposed with oversize animals such as a giant owl (Don’t Murder Me, I’m Not Ready For Eternity).
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