September 28 – November 5, 2020
October 1st - 7:00pm Eastern Time (Online) Artist Talk
I start by painting on my own body, to transform myself into a new creature: a blue-ringed octopus, an owl, or a monarch butterfly. Then, alone in my studio, I set my camera on the tripod and pose. Although it’s make-believe, it doesn’t feel like I’m pretending. The emotions of this new creature well up inside me. I let my body move in unexpected ways. I am expansive, and I do not constrain myself.
In my life outside the art studio, it is harder to be playful with my appearance. As a woman, I am acutely aware of which facial expressions are acceptable. I am aware of the meanings of different hairstyles. I know what a woman’s clothes say about her. (And I can never quite make mine say something true about me. Getting dressed always feels like pretending.)
I live near the woods and treasure my morning walks there. Among the plants and animals, I am not self-conscious. I am at ease just as I am, part of an interconnected web of life that transcends any social construct. Perhaps that is why I turn to the natural world for inspiration in my work. The creatures that I become are hybrids, both human and non-human. They are beyond gender, and when I inhabit them, I am free. -SM
Shelby Meyerhoff is a multidisciplinary artist based in Winchester, Massachusetts. She works with a variety of media, including photography, painting, sculpture, and body art, often combining multiple techniques to create her images. Meyerhoff lives near the Middlesex Fells, a 3,400-acre nature preserve north of Boston, and draws much of her inspiration from the plants, animals, and fungi found in her local area. Before becoming a fine artist, Meyerhoff worked in nonprofit communications, promoting environmental initiatives.
She has studied visual arts at the Griffin Museum of Photography, the New England School of Photography, and MassArt.
Meyerhoff’s work has been exhibited at venues across the country, including the Griffin Museum of Photography (MA), the Mosesian Center for the Arts (MA), the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (GA), and the LH Horton Jr. Gallery at San Joaquin Delta College (CA). Her Zoomorphics series has also been featured in UU World, the national magazine of the Unitarian Universalist Association.