In Katherine Sherwood’s works on paper, the artist continues to mine familiar territory: angiograms of blood vessels migrating from the cerebral cortex and emblems from a 17th-century handbook of sorcery that codifies the calligraphic seals purportedly drawn by King Solomon. This fascinating juxtaposition of images — one created from science and the benefit of the technological age, the other derived from the ancient past through the discipline of magic– merge compellingly in these works on paper.
Because each “Solomon’s Seal” carries with it specific healing powers and the angiograms have a pronounced clinical read, Sherwood has created an intriguing subtext to her work. The viewer is left digesting the contradictions between belief/reason, sacred/secular, faith/ science; and ultimately between what an eye perceives and what it is incapable of seeing. In this way, Sherwood’s compositions work like potent talismans. Orchestrating disparate histories into a single composition, the artist reminds the viewer that “seeing” requires more than a linear understanding or a singular definition. Sherwood insists that “seeing” is about encountering numerous realities that find their meanings in the way they each interlock along a path towards the viewer.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA: Microsoft Corporation; Bank of America; Berkeley Art Museum, University of California, Berkeley; Federal Reserve Bank, Atlanta, GA; San Jose Museum of Art; De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA