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Rick Shaefer, Drawings


Exquisite Empathy

Exhibition Title: Rick Shaefer: Drawings

Exhibition Dates: September 10 – October 22, 2016 


New York, NY— Entering Sears-Peyton’s exhibition Rick Shaefer: Drawings, a life-sized charcoal drawing of a bison meets your gaze with a pellucid watchful eye. Surrounded by an imposing coterie of powerful animals, Shaefer’s precise yet expressionistic style endows each silent giant with an emotional gravity. Shown concurrently with Shaefer’s exhibition Refugee Trilogy at the Fairfield University Art Museum, Shaefer’s meticulous powers of observation and fluency with materials allows viewers to connect emotionally and intellectually to the regal mystery of the natural world on view in New York, and also to the epic intensity of the physical, emotional, and cultural losses suffered by refugees.


Rick Shaefer: Drawings is anchored by five large-scale drawings of animals that range from domestic livestock to rhinos and alligators. Trained as a photographer, Shaefer makes use of the full tonal range and precision afforded him by malleable black charcoal, using sharply delineated strokes to summon the scale, texture, and vivacity of each creature.


In his Refugee Trilogy Shaefer borrows composition, pathos, and form from European Baroque and Romantic paintings of the 17th and 19th centuries by master artists like Peter Paul Rubens and Théodore Géricault to reframe the current refugee crisis as an emotionally charged windswept mise-en-scene as grand and damning as it is timely. Having grown up largely in Europe, Shaefer connects the emotional intensity of the Baroque and Romantic traditions on view in Europe’s great museums to the suffering of refugees who yearn for the safety of European shores.  


Between the calm intensity of the immobilized beasts in Drawings and the tormented voyagers in the Refugee Trilogy, Shaefer’s flawlessly-rendered works bring viewers into contact with the superb dignity of the animal kingdom’s grand creatures, and face to face with our fellow human beings’ profound suffering. These intimate views might deliver us into the realm of genuine empathy—that elusive common ground that makes the full measure of other lives strikingly visible.


Rick Shaefer: Drawings is on view September 10 – October 22, 2016 at Sears-Peyton Gallery’s Chelsea location at 210 Eleventh Avenue. Gallery Hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday. Rick Shaefer: Refugee Trilogy is on view at the Fairfield University Art Museum in Fairfield, Connecticut from September 7 – October 22, 2016. For more information or to request further press images, please contact the gallery at 

Rick Shaefer, Drawings

Sep 10 – Oct 22, 2016