Artist Meet & Greet with Mary Michael Shelley
Saturday, October 22 • 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
Included with museum admission • Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, NY
Cooperstown, New York – Fenimore Art Museum presents an Artist Meet and Greet with woodcarver Mary Michael Shelley on Saturday, October 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This special program offers the public the opportunity to interact directly with the artist. It takes place in the museum’s West Gallery which features Shelley’s current exhibition, Art of the Everyday, on view through December 31, 2022. The program is included with museum admission.
Mary Michael Shelley’s artwork has been described as primitive, traditional, untrained, Americana, whimsical, naïve, eccentric, outsider, visionary, or carved craft. The carved wooden reliefs featured in this exhibition by this Ithaca based artist are a sort of “picture diary” or “picture story” in which Shelley documents life events, emotions, and places important to her life.
About the Artist…
Mary Michael Shelley graduated from Cornell University in 1972 with a degree in creative writing. Today, having been a writer, she sees her pictures as narrations, picture stories, or picture diaries. With no visual art training, Shelley began to carve at age 23 after being inspired by a gift from her father of a painted woodcarving he had made of her.
Shelley’s artistic vision is inspired by the everyday world around her. As a gay woman in a two-mom, two-child family, she sees life from an outsider position, which, she says, informs her drive to create. Throughout the years, her subject matter has evolved but has remained consistent—portraits of her family, metaphors of life lessons, and local scenes of diners, bars, shops, and farms in Tompkins County, New York, where she has lived and worked for more than fifty years.
Shelley has always had to supplement her art income with a day job. She worked for twenty years as a carpenter, a house painter, and a sign-maker before returning to school and becoming a social worker in 1990. The activities, movements, and expressions of people are a significant part of her work.
About Fenimore Art Museum
Fenimore Art Museum, located on the shores of Otsego Lake—James Fenimore Cooper’s “Glimmerglass”—in historic Cooperstown, New York, features a wide-ranging collection of American art including folk art; important American 18th- and 19th-century landscape, genre, and portrait paintings; more than 125,000 historic photographs representing the technical developments made in photography and providing extensive visual documentation of the region’s unique history; and the renowned Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art comprised of nearly 900 art objects representative of a broad geographic range of North American Indian cultures, from the Northwest Coast, Eastern Woodlands, Plains, Southwest, Great Lakes, and Prairie regions. Visit FenimoreArt.org.