American Contemporary Art Magazine 


Tracy Sharp

In her own words.

Coffee and varnish permeate the air in my studio. The floor is thick with its sticky remains.  Boards of varying degrees of progress lie sprawled about on the floor like discarded treasures. The piece that holds my attention at the moment is pooled with coffee and pigment. Dark streams roll, finding the path of least resistance, inevitably dripping to the floor. As gravity subsides this beautiful drenched amber board glistens and shines without any promise of how it will dry. This is how they all begin. I am present with the piece in a place of discovery more than creation.  Somewhere between wet layers of pigment and plaster, water and coffee, shapes begin to emerge slowly morphing into gestures and faces, always taking human form. 


It’s like looking at clouds. Gradually over days sometimes weeks the pieces come together, often with little or no conscious thought. For me, thought only gets in the way. It’s a bit intimidating to be asked to write about my art.  After all, art is completely subjective and in speaking of my work, personal. I paint what I feel. I am inspired by absolutely everything in my beautiful world: my family, my partner, and my life. To impose my experience of my work seems contradictory to the intension of art, itself.  For this reason most of my pieces remain untitled. As intimate as I am with the work in its creation, once it leaves me, it becomes something new. It is left for someone else to discover, define and find meaning. I can only loosely claim to be self-taught because I was raised by an awe-inspiring artist: Felice Sharp. Even as a child I was very aware when I sat at the foot of my mother’s easel that I was bearing witness to something quite special. I watched intently, but never joined her, not until 4 years ago at the age of 40. It’s interesting what life brings you when you need it the most. I had just been through a difficult time. I had shifted from graphic design to real estate with hopes of more stability. As the market began to decline, I began to doodle and draw, nervously, on napkins, mail, on the bottoms of my shoes. For the first time, I joined my children in my Mom’s studio for outlandish collaborations, which included big wheel tracks in plaster, crazy collage, and masterpieces made from found objects. My kids took all of the intimidation away. They were so free. One of these explorative pieces was seen by well-known Atlanta curator, Marianne Lambert. She graciously invited me to participate in a group show of small pieces. I accepted with trepidation, and much to my surprise the work was well received. A reputable Atlanta gallery offered to represent me, and because I am the luckiest person on earth,  others followed. CNN found my transition into art interesting and did a small piece. Corporate collections such as The Ritz Carlton and The Four Seasons offered commissions. I seemed to be followed by good fortune at every turn. Basically, I came to that metaphoric fork in the road and took a hard left. In the middle of a financial crisis, I became a painter.


-- May 2011, p.32


Historical and Contemporary Art Gallery, Atlanta Georgia


690 Miami Circle NE, Ste 905, Atlanta, GA 30324    Tel: 404 814-1811                                                                            

Gallery Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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