Madelyn Jordon Fine Art TÊTE-À-TÊTE: Sheryl Zacharia & Rebecca Stern


Madelyn Jordon Fine Art is thrilled to present TÊTE-À-TÊTE, an exhibition featuring works by ceramist SHERYL ZACHARIA and painter REBECCA STERN. This is Zacharia’s debut exhibition with the gallery and Stern’s first two-person show since joining our gallery roster in 2019. The exhibition will run from September 7 - October 22, 2022, with an opening reception on Friday, September 9, 2022, from 6:00 – 8:00 pm.  

TÊTE-À-TÊTE presents two time-honored modes of art making - painting and sculpture in conversation.  Through the complementary visual language of geometry and abstraction, Sheryl Zacharia and Rebecca Stern’s art practices use shape, form, color, and line to express their subjective and emotive sensibilities.  More concept-driven than narrative, these two artists demonstrate a commitment to their craft that conveys their individual experience in the world.

The artists’ meeting of the minds is illustrated in Zacharia’s Rocking Triangle and Stern’s Delayed Separation, which share a palette of dark and neutral colors and employ a central focus. In Zacharia’s case, a triangle shaped opening, and in Stern’s case, a gray collaged square, create a tension between positive and negative spaces, unifying the composition.

SHERYL ZACHARIA's table-sized ceramics are a conversation between geometry and fluidity. Blending technical brilliance with a lyrical approach inspired by nature, music and painting, each hand-built sculpture reflects Zacharia’s fascination with form, color, and pattern.  Her abstract forms begin as drawings/sketches, which develop to refined shapes as she determines how to build a piece.

In constructing her complex, labor-intensive sculptures, Zacharia coils or slab builds the clay, as opposed to throwing on the potter’s wheel. She then meticulously shapes the clay and applies several layers of terra sigillata (a liquid clay) to achieve her signature crackle surface. After the initial firing at mid-range temperatures, she hand-paints three coats of glaze to achieve the shiny surface areas. Ocean Rhythms and Mosaic Sky’s scratched and stamped surfaces, kaleidoscopic colors, and complex patterning, demonstrate Zacharia’s bold interpretation of the vessel form.

Sheryl Zacharia lives and works in Santa Fe, NM. She majored in painting at Southampton College but spent many years pursuing a career as a singer-songwriter and performing on the NYC club circuit before turning to ceramics in 1996. Zacharia has mounted numerous solo and group exhibitions including Albuquerque Museum (Albuquerque, NM), San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts (San Angelo, TX), Atlantic Gallery (New York, NY), Caza Sikes Gallery (Cincinnati, OH), William Havu Gallery (Denver, CO), Winterowd Fine Art (Santa Fe, NM), Tansey Contemporary (Santa Fe, NM), amongst others. She has been on the Faculties of Greenwich House Pottery in NYC, The Art School at Old Church in Demarest NJ, and The West Side Y in NYC, and has taught numerous workshops including at Harvard University, Kingsborough College, and most recently at Ghost Ranch and Santa Fe Community College in New Mexico.

REBECCA STERN considers her abstract paintings an investigation of a ‘mental landscape’. Working instinctively, Stern employs collages, stitching, and diverse materials in her acrylic paintings. Intrigued by the interplay of intentionality and expressive freedom, she fastidiously builds the canvas, piecing together the disparate parts into a cohesive whole.

Externalizing her internal monologue into a visual narrative, each part of the painting speaks a word of the ‘sentence’ she is trying to convey. Using color to relay emotional meaning or intention, the first gestural wash of soft, muted hues acts as the opening words and sets the tone. Stern then integrates texture and harder-edged shapes in contrasting vivid pigments which act as an interruption in the thought process. The embroidery provides the punctuation to the sentence, making the resultant work a full expression of the psyche at one moment in time. 

Rebecca Stern graduated with honors from Lesley University College of Art and Design in 2009. Her work has been shown in several private collections and she has participated in solo and group exhibitions across the country for over 10 years. Notable exhibitions include the Sarah Doyle Gallery, Brown University (Providence, RI), Steinbeck Museum (Salinas, CA), SOMArts (San Francisco, CA), and Gallery Obscura at City College of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA).