“I’m going to continue to paint until I die. I just am,” says artist Sherry Dooley. Her artwork is reminiscent of the Mexican muralista movement, and fueled by emotion. Dooley says that she does not attempt to paint the world around her, but instead focuses on her own inner world.
Dooley's subjects are usually women, sitting or standing still and painted in bold colors. The mood of each piece is conveyed in the women's subtle expressions as well as in colors, symbols, textures and backgrounds. Her subjects frequently wear crowns or decorated dunce hats; spirals, crows, crosses, fruit and nun habits are also reoccurring symbols in her art. Like many artists, Dooley does not reveal her intent, but leaves her work open for the viewer to interpret.
“I use mostly found wood, 100 year-old cabinet doors and antique canvases,” Dooley writes on her website, “because I believe in the energy of history. Through certain finishing techniques, my work has a look and feel of something old, like a piece of artwork one would find tucked away in ones’ grandmother’s attic.” Her preferred medium is acrylic paint.
For Dooley, painting is not only a profession, but a form of therapy. The 46 year-old artist endured a great deal of sexual trauma in her youth. She was molested at age three and went on to a life of juvenile delinquency culminating in prostitution. Dooley didn't begin painting until 1997 when she was able to escape her surroundings and went back to school. She openly shares her story on her website. “If I can help just one young girl or woman find her true self-worth through sharing my story, and helping her get out from under the oppression of another or her own internal oppression,” she said, “then my victimization will have not been in vain.”
Her artwork has appeared in 15 shows since 2003. Works available for purchase can be found on her website and her etsy shop. Fans of her work can keep up with her latest pieces by liking her page on Facebook.