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CLARISSA SHANAHAN

My paintings are modern-day interpretations of historical figures, portraits and stories seen through the lens of film and pop culture. They are a composite of some fact, some fiction, and all largely informed by the subjective nature of time and memory.​

Visual storytelling, in all its forms, brought me to work in the film industry for many years. I rely heavily on filmic influences, both aesthetically, and for their powers of visual narrative, I cast these paintings, as if roles in a film. Various archival and film references all get 'Frankensteined' together, to mesh eras, to create temporal layers, superimposing our pop cultural references and personal memory onto figures both championed by history and those forgotten.

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ABOUT

     Clarissa Shanahan is a Philadelphia-based fine artist. She holds a BFA from University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and is a Bread Scholar, a merit based full scholarship from UPenn, the first PAFA/UPenn student ever to be awarded. Originally from New York, she additionally studied painting at New York Academy of Art, The Art Students League, Isabel O’Neal Studio on full scholarship, as well as many private studios around NY.

     An educator and lecturer at PAFA from 2000 - 2018, Clarissa also is one of the first US-based teaching artists to be working with VAWAA, an international travel and arts organization, teaching students from around the world in both in-person apprenticeships, as well as lectures online.  Prior to teaching, Clarissa’s career began with extensive professional experience in decorative arts. In 1993, she received an invitation from Friends of Vielles Maisons Francaises to restore a 19th-century horse carriage in Buxy, France. This led to producing work for private clients as well as commercial projects for American Express, The New York Museum of Natural History, Bendels, Fendi, Saks, Lord & Taylor and others. 

     She then spent almost twenty years in the film industry as a scenic artist and production designer, producing sets for over 40 film and television productions. Additionally, she produced both original and reproduction paintings for numerous productions, including the Lee Krasner paintings for the film Pollock. Her credits include Julie Taymor’s The Tempest, Salt, Summer of Sam, Angels in America and Boardwalk Empire. She is a longtime member of the United Scenic Artists 829.

     Her paintings have been exhibited in shows around the country, and is included in numerous private collections. 

CV

EDUCATION

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

Solo Shows

Group Shows

RESIDENCIES

SELECTED PRESS

COLLECTIONS

ADDITIONAL PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

University of Pennsylvania, BFA, 2005

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Certificate, 2002

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1998-99    New York Academy of Art, New York, NY

1997            The Art Students League of New York, NY

1990-92    Isabel O’Neil Studio, New York, NY Journeyman (Historic Decorative Art, Guild System)

2018     

The Grand Tour,  Gravers lane Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

B. Deemer Gallery, Louisville, KY

2017     

Gravers Lane Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2016     

Gallery Gala Event, L’Hippopotame, Philadelphia, PA

Tales from the Ruins, Gravers Lane Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2015     

Carol Schwartz Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2014     

Carol Schwartz Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2013     

Carol Schwartz Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2012     

Nichols Berg Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2021    

Tell Me a Story, Cerulean Arts Gallery, Philadelphia, PA 

2017     

Group Exhibition, B. Deemer Gallery, Louisville, KY

Cerulean Arts Invitational, Cerulean Arts Gallery & Studio, Philadelphia, PA 

2016     

Faculty Exhibition, Wayne Art Center, Wayne, PA

2015     

116th Annual Exhibition, Fellowship of PAFA,  PAFA Alumni Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2014    

InLiquid Exhibition, Ice Box Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

On the Edge: Looking with New Eyes, Artists’ House Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

On Hill and Dale: The Art of the Landscape, Artists’ House Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2013      

Paddle 8 in association with InLiquid, Philadelphia, PA

Ghost Stories, Artists’ House Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2012      

Reply Hazy, Try Again, Cerulean Arts Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Encausticon International Juried Exhibition, Gallery Nord, San Antonio, TX

The Future of the Past: Encaustic Art in the 21st Century, The Mills Gallery at the Boston Center  for the             Arts, Boston, MA

Duo Show, Nichols Berg Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

After Dark, Greg Moon Art Gallery, Taos, NM

InLiquid Exhibition, Ice Box Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2011    

Small Works Show, PAFA Alumni Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Wax Poetic, The Nichols Berg Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Old Carnival, Artists’ House Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

112th Annual Exhibition, Fellowship of the PAFA, Philadelphia, PA

Lucky New Year Show, Nichols Berg Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2001    

Kelly Writers House, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

1999    

From The film Pollock, Pollock-Krasner House & Study Center, East Hampton, NY

Iris Arts Centre, Afidnes, Greece

The Grand Tour - Subject of short form documentary with Filmmaker Doug Zajaczkowski

VAWAA, Follow the Rabbit. Event and film in NY

Clarissa Shanahan - Vasari 21 October 2018

Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made Of - Vasari 21 September 2017

Morning Feed on Germantown Radio - Interview January 2016

Morning Feed on Germantown Radio - Interview with Four Artists 10/9/15

The Future of the Past: Encaustic Art in the 21st Century - Publication, Boston Center for the Arts 8/20/13

Artist of the Month - Interview with Laura Moriarty at R&F Encaustics 2/1/12

Movie and TV veteran brings artistic talents to Hill - Feature, Chestnut Hill Local 10/5/11

The Logan Hotel, Philadelphia, PA

Sundance Channel Offices, New York, NY

The Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, PA

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA

The Bluestone Country Club, Bluebell, PA

VAWAA (Vacation With An Artist) Artist, United States - Teaching, hosting apprenticeships

Upcoming Presenting workshop at Iris Arts Centre, Afidnes, Greece                                          Fall, 2022

Freelance Gilding & Restoration                                                                                                          1991 - present

Scenic Artist, Art Director, Production Designer in the Film Industry, with over 40 credits   1994 - 2010         

Owner/Principal Artist, Decorative Painted Finishes, NY                                                               1991 - 1999

​Numerous Installation Projects with JAGR Projects                                                                       2012 - Present

Produced gilding project for the Museum of Natural History in NY

72 foot Twombly-inspired mural for JAGR Projects

30 foot Krasner-inspired mural for JAGR Projects

Created the paintings of Lee Krasner in the film Pollock (PT Charge Scenic) (2000)

Produced original and reproduction artwork for many film productions, including Boardwalk Empire, Angels in America, Explicit Ills and others

Produced sculptural mural in the style of Anselm Kiefer for the film The Tempest - Additionally, work from production installed as permanent display at Steiner Studios, NY.

Restored 19th Century horse carriage in Buxy, France​

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