Spotlight: Rising

Artist’s Statment

Living on Sandy Hook Bay in New Jersey gave me a personal stake in global warming. Superstorm Sandy took a devastating toll on our neighborhood and our beach. I completed the Rising Series five years before Sandy. The series helped me to express the fear 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina imprinted on my psyche. Each year as the destruction from storms stretches around the globe, the Rising Series is more relevant than ever. This series allows me to voice my sadness and frustration at the systemic abuse and destruction of our forests, our oceans, our animal kingdom, and, ultimately, our planet.

Rising is a series of ten seascapes depicting the effects of global warming. I chose to describe a turbulent sea, collaged with images of animals, structures, and debris that describe turmoil and destruction. I used burlap, magazine images, and handmade papers. The collaged images transform the sea from serene and beckoning to violent and unsettling.

The subject of the sea has always interested me for its opposing forces—the movement of the waves against the stillness of the rocks, the white breakers against the dark sea. Contrast and movement play an important role in my paintings.

The navigational charts are metaphors for our lost sense of direction, as well as our shifting shores. The process is a layering of image over paint, paint over image—reveal and conceal. I apply the paint like I’m conducting an orchestra—smacking the canvas with paint. The paint responds to the force of a flick. The strokes are emotive. They capture movement. They have an immediacy. The images on the other hand are stopped in time. This creates a moment when two realities converge—the now and then; the past and the present; the image and the paint. I refer to my work as collage painting.

The paintings reflect an uncertain future and challenge us as to our responsibility as guardians of the planet. These paintings speak to the magnitude of natural disasters besieging our coastlines and the impact global warming and the rising seas have on our way of life.


Shari Epstein recently exhibited Patterns, a series of abstract collage paintings using clothing patterns. In 2015, she exhibited abstract photography shot from Miami Beach sidewalks. In 2013, at Johnson & Johnson Corporation, her solo show Seaing, were seascapes made from fabric. Also that year, she participated in “Sandy, The Once and Future Storm,” a group show at Bergen County Community College. Shari holds a BA from the University of Maryland. She also studied at the Maryland Art Institute, the Vermont Studio Center, and the New York Studio School. To see her work in photography, collage, and fabric visit