My life has been a search for wisdom, and art is my vehicle for this exploration. Stylistically, I have always striven for what I would call a “non-style”, that is, a level of realism accurate enough that the viewer can forget about the style and proceed to the ideas and feelings conveyed within the painting. That the conveyance is completely dependent on the sophistication of the style is a demanding paradox. To use a metaphor, if a painting is a window that looks out onto a deep reality under the superficial reality, then I want to make my window absolutely transparent and remove all barriers to the mystery I am exploring.
Shelah Horvitz is an American contemporary realist painter. She has studied just about everyone who ever made it to western art history, so her influences are innumerable. She holds degrees in English Literature (Brown University), Computer Science (University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth and an MFA in Painting (University of Texas at San Antonio).
Shelah was born in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1960. She started training as an artist at four, under the tutelage of her mother, Frances Bieler Horvitz, who studied at the Boston Museum School (now Tufts). Shelah got serious about art at around ten, when she started studying anatomy from her mother's texts, working from the nude, and studying Rembrandt, the Wyeths, Winslow Homer and the French Symbolists, all of whom remain seminal influences. She started classical training at the age of 13 at the Wheeler School in Providence, RI under the renouned Spanish painter Narcisco Maisterra, including cast drawings, extensive life drawing, painting from life, and copying masterworks at the RISD Museum. While at Brown University, the University of Massachusetts/Dartmouth, and the University of Texas at San Antonio, Shelah studied art history treatises, copied master works from books and in museums and reverse-engineered master techniques through extensive scholarship and experimentation. When married to a medical student, Shelah studied anatomy in the medical school's cadaver lab.
Shelah was in her first exhibition at the age of 20, at Brown University's List Gallery, hanging alongside such greats as John William Waterhouse and William Holman Hunt. She has been painting, studying, experimenting and exhibiting ever since. Her work has appeared in galleries and museums, magazines, books and television, in art historical tracts, on billboards, and in blogs worldwide.
Shelah's current husband is the Norwegian writer Olav Grinde, and their trips to Norway provide fertile ground for paintings that highlight the nude topography and cold light of the Norwegian landscape.
Shelah now lives with her husband and dog in the tiny hamlet of Weld, on the edge of wilderness in the western mountains of Maine.