(American b. 1947)
Duffy Sheridan has been painting since he was a child. His father, also
an artist, encouraged him to learn to paint anything and everything. He
is unusual in the art world because he is entirely self-taught and
because he speaks explicitly of the influence of spirituality on his
work. A member of the Baha’i Faith since 1971, Mr. Sheridan is
unambiguous about how Baha’i teachings and principles affect his choice
of subjects and themes.
Struggling as a painter, he moved his family to the Falkland Islands in
1976, to assist the Baha’i community there. He thought the isolation
would mean the end of his painting, but instead it allowed him to refine
and refocus his technique and his approach. He developed in himself a
power of observation. The sojourn also put him in the path of the
Falklands war, which required him and his family to spend every night
for two months in an underground bunker.
Interest in the war led to his first big break, when in 1983 a show in
London featured his paintings of Falkland Islanders. A stunningly
lifelike portrait of the family baby sitter, Anya Smith, ended up on the
cover of the Sunday Times Magazine in London. Since then, Mr. Sheridan
has won increasing notice as an important figure in the realist school.
In 1986, the Sheridan’s moved to Samoa for five years. Returning to the
United States in 1991, Mr. Sheridan has become a very collected artist
internationally. “I believe Duffy is one of the top 15 or 20 artists
alive today,” said Fred Ross, chairman of the Art Renewal Center, a
not-for-profit organization in New Jersey that promotes a return to
traditional realism. “He has a wonderful technique that gets better and
better. He captures the humanity of his subjects, creating very moving
pieces that are very compelling.” Fred Ross, who is a noted collector
of 19th Century artwork, has himself added Sheridan’s
paintings to his own collection.
In March 2005, the Center honored Mr. Sheridan’s painting “Trust” with
the Chairman’s Choice award in the Second International ARC Salon
Competition, which received more than 1,500 entries from around the
world. In 2006, one of his paintings was a finalist in the Third
International ARC Salon Competition. The Center has honored Mr.
Sheridan with the appellation “Living Master”, a title it has bestowed
on about 40 individuals worldwide.
In 2005, his “Self Portrait 2004” won the Director’s Award at the
International Guild of Realism Show in Dallas, Texas. And again his
“Promise of Renewal” received the Director’s Award at the International
Guild of Realism show in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“I consider him one of the best classical realist painters today,” said
Don Clapper, founder of the International Guild of Realism. “His
technique, his ability to render light and shadow, is absolutely
gorgeous. He really captures the emotions and the life of the
individuals that he paints.”
Invited to participate in the 2005 Florence Biennale of Contemporary
Art, which is prestigious, invitation-only, art festival which brought
768 artists from 74 countries. Mr. Sheridan brought three paintings to
the exhibition. The recognition given to Mr., Sheridan at the show in
Florence, where he won the celebrated President’s Award, is all the more
significant because of the style of his paintings. Mr. Sheridan is a
classical realist and his vision runs counter to the trend in
contemporary art toward abstraction.
His paintings can be found in prestigious institutions from a Cathedral
in the South Pacific to the US Air Force Academy to corporate
headquarters in Manhattan, as well as in the private residences of
kings, judges, bishops, doctors and collectors all over the world.
For over 35 years the teachings of the Baha’i Faith have been the
primary influence of Sheridan’s life and work and have dominated his
continual search for the balance of craftsmanship and artistic
expression which has the ability to elevate, in some small way, the
Duffy Sheridan feels that he is in the process of learning to appreciate
the richness of humankind and has come to believe that the purpose of
his work should be “to magnify the dignity and nobility of human spirit
and the singular beauty of all things. When people look at one of my
paintings, I’d like them to see that humans, indeed, are noble beings.”