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Michael Sherrill Retrospective: Renwick

  • Renwick Gallery 500 South Tryon Street1661 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006 United States (map)

In his delicately rendered sculptures in clay, glass, and metal, Michael Sherrill seeks to elicit a sense of wonder from viewers, and to make them see the natural world anew. This retrospective, organized by The Mint Museum, illustrates the artist’s evolution over his more than 40-year career and highlights his contributions to contemporary art, craft, and design. Sherrill is considered one of the foremost practitioners of using a new approach to traditional methods and incorporating new media and technologies into his work. Sherrill’s exceptional skills and his keen sense of materials together achieve what he calls his “natural narratives.”

The presentation at SAAM’s Renwick Gallery includes more than 75 objects, from Sherrill’s earliest teapots to his sculptures inspired by nature, such as Temple of the Cool Beauty (Yucca)and Yellowstone Rhododendron. Sherrill’s most recent work reveals his naturalist’s sensitivity to botanical wonders. His floral forms have the allure of Martin Johnson Heade’s passion flower and orchid paintings and the botanical engravings of John James Audubon, aligning his work with a long history of a reverence for nature in American art.


After its presentation at the Renwick Gallery, the exhibition will travel to the Arizona State University Art Museum in 2020.


The accompanying catalogue includes essays by Ezra Shales, professor at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design; and Marilyn Zapf, guest curator for the exhibition and assistant director and curator at The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design in Asheville, North Carolina. It will be available for purchase ($40) in the museum store.


Michael Sherrill Retrospective is organized by The Mint Museum. Funding for the exhibition catalogue and national tour provided by the Windgate Foundation.