The artist sees a world in flux, a world of perpetual change and transition, a constant building-up and a tearing down. In these works Milgrim focuses her lens on the Accretive processes in our world that mimic the way of Nature and reveals beauty hidden in plain sight.
After pallet clean ups, her Alameda High School painting students leave behind colorful residue that builds up, layer after layer, forming surreal imagery.
Sheila Metcalf Tobin
July 25th Aug.22nd
What the Swallow Saw
Prayer for the Western Monarch
Daring to Bloom
As a young girl, among the Lantana and Phlox blooming in my great grandmother’s garden, I became aware of a sensation. I was watching a Monarch butterfly gracefully fluttering about gathering nectar. Was it love? Yes. Wonder? Yes. But most importantly it was about connection and a yearning to understand how I was like the butterfly and how the butterfly was like me.
Moving through the world paying attention in this way, listening with my body I hear the universe and its contents: elements, animals, plants, all living, breathing, growing, blooming, vibrating with signals and suggestions of similarity. I collect these interactions and use observation based drawing to convey the connections I see within these encounters and within myself and the world.
Standing in front of my paper, eyes search for shapes, observing details, I become aware of my body, my breathing, as I direct all of myself toward the study of the subject. The drawings accumulate, I see and feel the relationships and allow myself to contemplate the questions that arise. How is a human body like a tree? How is a hand reaching like the blossoming of a flower? Further, through printing portions of my original work, I have created a collection of imagery I collage and draw over to orchestrate compositions exploring the physical features and experiences that we share with our wild counterparts.
The attention required in observation based drawing cultivates a pathway for an intimate connection. It allows for the possibility of knowing akin to tenderly holding and touching. It creates both love and empathy for my subjects. It makes me all the more human. I am linked together with my subjects. I am myself but also the flower, the bird, the wolf. I am myself but I am also you.
Sheila Metcalf Tobin is an artist and instructor whose mixed media artwork is driven by the desire to articulate the connections between individuals, our environment and its inhabitants. In her most recent body of work the artist orchestrates compositions to represent real and imagined relationships between people, plants, animals to curiously explore how we might continue to evolve to more overtly display analogous ideas, emotions and experiences to that of our environment and our wild counterparts. Emblems of resilience, metamorphosis and transcendence are all exemplified and celebrated.
Sheila received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago. Her formal art education includes studies in drawing, sculpture and fiber. In 2017 the artist was awarded a Berkeley Civic Arts Commission grant to create Residing Here, a public portrait project which was displayed at several public venues in Berkeley. Her work has been exhibited nationally, internationally and locally in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area at many venues including the John Steinbeck Museum and the The Museum of Northern California Art. It is included in several publications and many private collections.
The artist maintains a busy studio practice and works as a drawing instructor teaching Botanical, Figure and Drawing and Composition at Merritt College in Oakland, CA. In addition, Sheila creates and curates many student exhibitions as part of her ongoing commitment to her students art education and experience. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.