Sherrie McGraw's First Major Retrospective Unveils at the Butler Institute of American Art

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On view through November 30, 'Sherrie McGraw: Then & Now' spotlights more than 75 paintings and drawings that explore the concept of ‘Abstract Realism’. A Portrait Painting Demonstration and Reception with the Artist will be held the weekend of Oct. 11 and 12.

This comprehensive retrospective highlights Sherrie McGraw’s vision and serves as a welcome oasis from a society bombarded with overstimulation, as quietude is the hallmark of her drawings and paintings.

The Butler Institute of American Art, located at 524 Wick Avenue in Youngstown, unveiled "Sherrie McGraw: Then and Now," the artist’s first comprehensive retrospective showcasing figurative and still life work. The exhibition is on view through November 30, 2014.

Two special events with Sherrie McGraw are scheduled for October 11 and 12 at the Butler museum. Also a respected author and art instructor, McGraw will conduct a portrait painting demonstration in the museum’s Beecher Court on Saturday, October 11 from 1 to 4 p.m. An artist’s reception will be held the following day from 1 to 3 p.m.

The exhibition spotlights nearly 80 classical paintings and drawings created during McGraw’s distinguished career spanning more than three decades; from her early days as an art student in New York City, where she supported herself by working as a night guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to her present life in Taos, New Mexico.

As each of the portraits, figures and still lifes selected for this retrospective illustrates McGraw’s transformation as an artist, they collectively reveal her exploration into the concept of “Abstract Realism.” This artistic philosophy considers the abstract language of paint, edges, value and color, which in combination create a visual concept that is independent of a realistic image.

McGraw describes Abstract Realism as a “visual point of view in which the subject matter is a vehicle – not the reason – for painting the abstract beauty in today’s world.”

Butler Director and Chief Curator Dr. Louis A. Zona states, “This comprehensive retrospective highlights McGraw’s vision and serves as a welcome oasis from a society bombarded with overstimulation, as quietude is the hallmark of her drawings and paintings. She distills the world into its simplest elements while making mere line or paint come alive.”

A 128-page full-color hardbound book that chronicles McGraw’s journey in preparing for this solo retrospective accompanies the exhibition.

For more information about Sherrie McGraw and the "Then and Now" exhibition, visit


About Sherrie McGraw
Sherrie McGraw has been at the forefront of the American Art scene for more than 30 years. She studied primarily with legendary artist David A Leffel at the Art Students League of New York, but she also learned anatomy from Robert Beverly Hale and Jon Zahourek at the New York Academy. Later she studied with Ned Jacob, one of the art world’s leading experts on drawing and painting the horse. By the time she was thirty, McGraw was teaching her own classes at the Art Students League and has become a sought-after instructor for some of the top art organizations and universities today, including the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, which recently awarded her an honorary doctorate.

Her work has received numerous awards and has shown in major art institutions and museums. McGraw is also the author of the highly acclaimed book The Language of Drawing and has developed a series of instructional videos for Bright Light Fine Art ( She edited and wrote the foreword to The Drawings of Nicolai Fechin by Russia’s famed author Galina Tuluzakova, and coedited Galina’s new scholarly treatise on Fechin’s legacy to the art world, Nicolai Fechin: The Art and the Life. She presently is writing an instructional book on painting.

About The Butler Institute of American Art
The Butler Institute ( is the first museum of American art. The original structure, dedicated in 1919, is a McKim, Mead and White architectural masterpiece listed on the National Register of Historic places. The museum's mission is to preserve and collect works of art in all media created by citizens of the United States. The Institute’s holdings now exceed 20,000 individual works, and the Butler is known worldwide as "America's Museum." Located in Youngstown, Ohio, the museum charges no admission fee at the main location or at its branch museum, relying on contributions to meet its cultural mission.

The Beecher Center, housed in the south wing of the Butler's Youngstown location, is the first museum addition dedicated solely to new media and electronic art. The facility regularly displays works of art that utilize computers, holography, lasers and other digital media. The Beecher Center houses the Zona Auditorium, a digital media theater designed for performance art and high-definition film presentations.

The Butler also operates a satellite facility in nearby Trumbull County. The Butler's Trumbull branch, funded in part by Foundation Medici, focuses on important international artists whose works have profoundly influenced America, as well as exhibitions of works by contemporary master painters and sculptors.

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