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Rudy Shepherd

Associate Professor of Art
Rudy Shepherd's head shot

Rudy Shepherd’s latest work explores the nature of evil through the mediums of painting and sculpture. This exploration involves investigations into the lives of criminals and victims of crime. He explores the complexity of these stories and the grey areas between innocence and guilt in a series of paintings and drawings of both the criminals and the victims, making no visual distinctions between the two. By presenting the people first and the stories second, a space is created for humanity to be re-instilled into the lives of people who have been reduced to mere headlines by the popular press. Going along with these portraits is a series of sculptures called the Black Rock Negative Energy Absorbers. They are a group of sculptures meant to remove negative energy from people allowing them to respond to life with the more positive aspects of their personality. The series is, on the one hand, a response to living in New York City for the last twelve years and witnessing the madness that takes place in this American microcosm. At the same time, it is also an approach to political art that seeks to push the dialogue started in the late 80‚Äôs/early 90‚Äôs forward into 2015 by looking at the problems of society in a more comprehensive way and advancing practices culled from new-age mythology and ancient religions to heal our still divided and troubled country. Based in New York City, Rudy Shepherd received a BS in Biology and Studio Art from Wake Forest University and an MFA in Sculpture from the School of Art Institute of Chicago. He has been in group exhibitions at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, NY, The Studio Museum of Harlem, NY, Bronx Museum of Art, NY, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Art in General, NY, Triple Candie, NY, Socrates Sculpture Park, NY, Cheekwood Museum of Art, TN, Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, CT, Southeastern Center of Contemporary Art, NC, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL, NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, Fl, Tart Gallery, San Francisco, CA, Analix Forever Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland and solo exhibitions at Mixed Greens Gallery, NY, Regina Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. He has been awarded Artist in Residence at PS1 National/International Studio Program, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY, Artist in Residence Visual + Harlem, Jacob Lawrence Institute for the Visual Arts, New York, NY, Process Space Artist in Residence Governors Island, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York, NY and Emerging Artist Fellowship, Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY, Artist in Residence, Location One, NY. He is currently represented by Mixed Greens Gallery, NY.

  • Education
    • MFA from the School of Art Institute of Chicago
    • BS from Wake Forest University
  • Courses Taught
    • Ideas as Visual Images
    • Ideas as Objects
    • Intermediate Painting
    • Special Topics (Public Art)
    • Beginning Sculpture
  • Honors & Awards

    2017

    • College of Arts and Architecture Faculty Research Grant, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

    2016

    • Institute of Arts and Humanities Grant, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

    2014

    • Process Space Artist in Residence Program Governors Island, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York, New York

    2010

    • Institute of Arts and Humanities Grant, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

    2008

    • Rockefeller Brothers Fund Artist in Residence, Location 1, New York, New York

    2006

    • Emerging Artist Fellowship, Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, New York

    2002–03

    • Artist In Residence, Visual + Harlem, Jacob Lawrence Institute for the Visual Arts, New York, New York

    2001–02

    • Artist In Residence, P.S.1 National/International Studio Program, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York

    2001

    • Edward L. Ryerson Fellowship, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

    1999–2001

    • Trustee’s Scholarship (Full Academic Scholarship), School of the Art Institute of Chicago

    2000

    • Matching Fellowship, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
  • Exhibitions & Presentations
    • Please see C.V. for list of Exhibitions and Performances
  • Expertise
    • Sculpture
    • Drawing
    • Painting
    • Performance
    • Video Art
    • Sound Art
  • Publications & Presentations

    2017

    • “Untitled (Portraits),” Artist book with Endless Edition

    2016

    • “All of Your Heroes Are Dead,” Artist book with Endless Editions

    2014

    • “When the Starts Begin to Fall: Imagination and the American South,” Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, New York, Essays by Thomas J. Lax, Themla Golden, Lowery Stokes, Katherine Jentleson, Scott Romine, Horace D. Ballard Jr.

    2012

    • “MIE: A Portrait by 35 Artists,” Freight+Volume Gallery, New York, New York

    2008

    • “Face Forward: Portraiture in Contemporary Art.” New York: VisualFieldPress
    • “Skank Bloc Bologna 1,” Tart Gallery, San Francisco, California

    2007

    • “The Art of Buying Art: An Insider’s Guide to Collecting Contemporary Art,” Collins Design, Paige West

    2006

    • “Viva La Marriage,” Swiss Institute-Contemporary Art, New York, New York

    2001–02

    • “P.S.1 National and International Studio Program Catalog,” P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York

    2001

    • “Dept.,” School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois. Essay by Mary Jane Jacob

    2000

    • “Snapshot,” CD-Rom, Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, Maryland