Shemesh often paints in monumental scale, especially in her series of swimmers. Shemesh beautifully captures the twists and turns of limbs when underwater, capturing the nuanced portrayal of swimming bodies. The power and authority of Shemesh’s paintings is made possible by the manner in which she handles paint. Her choice to use a limited palette sets the visual and emotional tenor of the paintings, in which the subtleties of color operate in a restrained way. The rich layering of the paint serves both to convey the solidity of form and to display the shimmer of movement as the artist breaks edges with expressionist brush strokes. The composition of the paintings locks the protagonists uneasily into the shallow space of the canvas, reinforcing the tension and strength of the imagery. Seen close-up in the richness of Shemesh’s paint, life is displayed as spirited, dynamic and open-ended. The triumph of these paintings is to memorialize a moment in flux, wresting something lasting and grand from the endless shifting and ephemeral nature of life.
Shemesh received a BFA in Painting from Boston University and an MFA in Painting from the Tyler School of Art. She has taught painting and drawing at the Rhode Island School of Design and Amherst College. She has had numerous solo and group exhibitions, including exhibitions at The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA; The National Academy Museum, New York, NY; Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH; Nasher Museum of Art. Durham NC; De Cordova Museum, Lincoln, MA; Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI; and Museum of The City of New York, NY. Lorraine Shemesh is a member of the National Academy of Design in New York City, a two-time Watershed Residency recipient and a Yaddo Fellowship recipient. She lives and works in New York City.