pc-art-haler-kf4m0962Piedmont hosts artwork of Sheryl Haler


The installation art of Florida sculptor Sheryl Haler is at once familiar and strange. We recognize the shapes from nature—a stag, a pair of polar bears, a dragonfly—but closer inspection reveals details that are woven, stitched, and manipulated by human hand. Haler creates an alternate universe where the natural world is an extension of man’s—rather woman’s—creative bent.

Haler’s works now on display at the Mason-Scharfenstein Museum of Art at Piedmont College include a half dozen large installations that transform the space into a slightly off-kilter natural history museum. Each of the pieces begins with an animal form that is then “altered and carved before being covered with layers of cloth as skin,” she said. “Nature, myth, place and community are recurrent themes in my work. I want the viewers to weave their own thoughts and experiences into the interpretation of the art and then extend the conversation into a reflective contemplation with self.”

The works at the Piedmont show primarily use cloth, a medium Haler said she enjoys for its “wondrous mix of history and technology, nature and human hand, as well as [representing] the symbolic and the utilitarian. … I use these materials and processes to make associations to cultures, to civilizations, to environments, and to customs.” Haler said she also chose to incorporate organic materials because “they have been traditionally associated with female concerns or tasks.”

The title of the exhibit is “Primum non nocere,” from the physician’s motto of “First, do no harm.” Admission is free and the exhibit runs through Sept. 14, with a reception for the artist set for 6–8 p.m., Sept. 13. The MSMA is located at 567 Georgia Street in Demorest and is open from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

A professor of art for the past 20 years at the Ringling College of Art and Design near Sarasota, Fla., Haler has taught sculpture, two- and three- dimensional design, color theory and drawing. She currently teaches transdisciplinary digital filmmaking. She earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Texas Tech University and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Houston.