Shepherd’s online solo exhibition demonstrates diversity of his art practice

“Dreams Deferred,” an online solo exhibition by Rudy Shepherd, associate professor of art, is on display via the James K. Schmidt Gallery at Voney Art Center, Principia College, through April 30. The exhibition can be viewed here.

“Dreams Deferred” includes five conceptually-related series of works representing the feelings and the desire for healing that people of all colors, especially Black Americans, are experiencing as our nation continues to suffer the tragic effects of systemic racism and social injustice.

In the introduction to the exhibition, Paul Ryan, co-director of the James K. Schmidt Gallery, notes Shepherd’s studio practice embodies the ideals celebrated by civil rights activist and former U.S. Congressman John Lewis as essential to democracy.

“[His practice] embodies the imagination, empathy and citizenship that are vital in building ‘the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.’ The establishment of this diverse community—one sustained by the fluid and often difficult but life-affirming processes of democracy—is a dream of many Americans who embrace a Whitemanesque vision for the United States, one that celebrates our wide sweep of differences as it cultivates solidarity,” writes Ryan, professor of art and chair of the Department of Art and Art History at Principia College.

The five series in the exhibition include watercolor paintings from the “Portraits” series, an ongoing body of work, begun in 2007, that focuses on the portrayal of victims of structural violence and racism; paintings from a series that draws on photos from news sources to depict scenes of violence; acrylic paintings from the “Holy Mountain Series”; works from the “Black Rock Negative Energy Absorbers” sculpture series; and four photographs of Shepherd in the role of “The Healer,” his alter ego focused on spiritual healing and transformation.

Shepherd exhibits extensively, most recently having solo exhibitions at Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, CT, and Latchkey Gallery in New York City in fall 2020. Learn more about his work on his website and Instagram.

Painting of George Floyd by Rudy Shepherd     Painting of Breonna Taylor by Rudy Shepherd

Rudy Shepherd’s paintings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor