David Shapiro Biography - Short

The New York-based American artist David Shapiro is an internationally celebrated non-objective painter whose signature style of partitioned compositions creates boundless platforms for meditative awareness and contemplative tranquility through a complex union of color, texture, light, and form.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York in 1944, Shapiro studied at Skowhegan School of Art in 1965, and earned his BFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1966, and his MFA from Indiana University in Bloomington in 1968.

Compared with the visual equivalent of a mantra, Shapiro developed a practice that included contrasting Eastern concepts such as mudra, a symbolic Buddhist or Hindu hand gesture; savasan, the lying-down posture in yogic practice; “clearing,” as in to clear the mind, and “origin and return,” which represents the opening and concluding points of meditation. The artist equates his work to the opposing metaphors of the limitlessness of the warp and weft of weaving, and the inward centering associated with wheel pottery. While one might expect dissonant tension from such divergent metaphors, Shapiro’s images harmoniously pulsate, and mesmerize the viewer with quiet urges to both reach out from and move toward the middle.

Shapiro’s paintings and prints, according to the author Mason Riddle, "comprise a highly personal language of signs and symbols. Circles, spirals, dots, wave and knot patterns, ... and textures resonate on richly hued, tactile surfaces of Nepalese and Japanese papers, burlap, nylon screening, and canvas evoking a subtle mood of contemplation. Suggesting constellations of heavenly bodies, or human thoughts, these works appear to visually and psychologically, if not mythically, intersect, overlap, and merge with one another."

For over three decades, David Shapiro has exhibited in more than eighty solo exhibitions throughout the United States as well as in Japan, Canada, and England. His work is represented in many public, private, and corporate collections including respected institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Solomon Guggenheim Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington D.C., the Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art in Nagoya, Japan, and the Kunsthalle der Stadt in Nuremberg, Germany.

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