Sharon Kopriva, Texas Sculpture Group
From Houston, Texas
I was 31 and had taught art in public schools nine years when I entered the MFA program at the University of Houston in 1979. Having James Surls and John Alexander as advisors and instructors, I worked around the clock developing mind and skills while teaching a few introductory level classes. My paintings gradually became “bonescapes” as I dug my way through the intensive program. In June 1982, my thesis exhibition went up at the Blaffer Gallery and I joined my husband and friends and headed to Peru.
Peru opened my eyes to a world very different from my own and changed my life. It put me on a path and a visual journey that would inspire my work for nearly forty years. Peru was a revelation. The land, the indigenous Indians, the burial sites, the mummies, hairless dogs and the color brown. Once back in my studio, I took more than two years developing my first body of work. Flat paintings became built-out and finally, some works became three dimensional.
Around 1986, Catholicism began working its way into my work as I began questioning the state of my own spirituality. A more than twenty year period followed, examining my religion and developing intricate works about the clergy, martyrs, and Catholic practice. These works fused with the earlier Peruvian works. The Confessional (5) and Joan of Arc (6) are examples. There are hundreds more. In 2006, I returned to Lima for a survey exhibition of works from 1982-2006.
In 1989, I started spending summers in the forests of North Idaho as a guest of Ed and Nancy Kienholz. Long hikes gave way to Nature which began fusing itself with my formal religion. Cathedral Green (2011), was the first large landscape built out with found objects. In that painting, the green encroaches into the Gothic architecture. Like that painting, I have finally united my own spirituality with Nature and come to peace with it. Green controlled my pallet for more than ten years.
More recently, social issues have begun to occupy my visual and mental space.
Sharon Kopriva, a Texas native, currently works in Houston, Texas and Hope, Idaho. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of Houston in 1981.
Sharon has continually exhibited her art since the Fresh Paint exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston that kicked off her career in the mid-eighties. She has shown in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally. Important survey exhibitions include The Menil Museum, 2000, Houston; The Ogden Museum, 2012, New Orleans; the National Museum of Peru in Lima, 2006; The Metropolitan Museum of Monterrey in Mexico, 2015; and The Hilliard University Art Museum, 2019, Lafayette, Louisiana.
For more than thirty years, Sharon has worked in both two and three dimensional media. Her career has taken her through investigations of Pre-Columbian cultures in Peru, her own personal examination of her Catholic faith and, more recently, works have been inspired by the spiritual light of the forests in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, muses, and social issues.