Michael Sherrill Retrospective

June 28, 2019 – January 5, 2020

Michael Sherrill, Yellowstone Rhododendron, 2000, porcelain, glaze, steel. 11.25 x 15 x 11 in. Smithsonian American Art Museum, gift of David and Clemmer Montague, in memory of her mother Beatrice Slaton and her brother Carson Slaton, Mississippi Gardeners, 2005.34.

In his delicately rendered sculptures in clay, glass, and metal, Michael Sherrill seeks to elicit a sense of wonder from viewers, and to make them see the natural world anew. Sherrill’s most recent work reveals his naturalist’s sensitivity to botanical wonders, especially those outside his studio in the mountains of North Carolina. His floral forms have the allure of Martin Johnson Heade’s passion flower and orchid paintings and the botanical engravings of John James Audubon, aligning his work with a long history of a reverence for nature in American art.

This retrospective, organized by The Mint Museum, illustrates the artist’s evolution over his more than forty-year career. The presentation at SAAM’s Renwick Gallery includes more than seventy-five objects, from Sherrill’s earliest teapots and functional clay vessels to his mixed media sculptures inspired by nature, such as Temple of the Cool Beauty (Yucca) and Yellowstone Rhododendron.