Michael Sherwin

Michael Sherwin is an artist based in Morgantown, WV. Using the mediums of photography, video and installation, his art reflects on the experience of observing nature through the lenses of science, popular culture and history. He has won numerous grants and awards for his work, and has been exhibited widely, including recent shows at CEPA Gallery in Buffalo, New York, SPACES Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio, the Clay Center for Arts and Sciences in Charleston, WV and the Atlanta Contemporary Arts Center in Atlanta, GA. Reviews and reproductions of his work have been featured in Art Papers, Oxford American, Prism, Don’t Take Pictures, among others. Sherwin earned a MFA from the University of Oregon in 2004, and a BFA from The Ohio State University in 1999. Currently, Michael Sherwin is an Associate Professor in the School of Art and Design at West Virginia University.  Today we share his series Vanishing Points.

Boat Ramp, Green Bottom Wildlife Management Area, WV Mural, Point Pleasant Riverfront Park, Point Pleasant, WV Factory, Ohio River, Marshall County, WV Mattress, Natrium Plant, New Martinsville, WV

Vanishing Points

“The Vanishing Points project originates from a personal desire to explore the ancestry of the American landscape, and reflect upon traditional Western Anglo American views of nature, wilderness, ownership and spirituality. The project was inspired by the battle over the use of land that is now the Suncrest Towne Center in Morgantown, WV. The Towne Center was developed on a 2,000 year-old sacred indigenous burial ground and village site less than a mile from my house. I am fascinated by this simultaneous presence and absence in the landscape, the seen and unseen. The photographs in this series recognize the historical significance of an otherwise banal landscape, connecting a mysterious and ancient past with the familiar present.

Soybean Field, Buffalo, WV Suncrest Towne Center, Morgantown, WV Chickamunga Mound, Chattanooga, TN

Combining extensive research of historical archives, maps and contemporary satellite imagery, as well as direct collaboration with archaeologists, historians and scholars I have been able to locate and photograph numerous significant sites of Native American history in the regional area. The sites I choose to visit and photograph are literal and metaphorical vanishing points. They are places in the landscape where two lines, or cultures, converge. They are also actual locations where the sparse evidence of a culture’s once vibrant existence has all but disappeared. While visiting these sites, I reflect on the monuments our modern culture will leave behind and what the archaeological evidence of our modern civilization reveals about our time on Earth.”

Cleared Meadow, Green Bottom Wildlife Management Area, WV Criel Mound, South Charleston, WV Grave Creek Mound, Moundsville, WV View from the Top, Grave Creek Mound, Moundsville, WV Poorhouse Mound, Shawnee Park, Dunbar, WV Rail Lines, Marshall County, WV Road End, Green Bottom Wildlife Management Area, WV Soccer Field, Valley Fork City Park, Moundsville, WV View from the Top, Criel Mound, South Charleston, WV Teays Hill Cemetery, St. Albans, WV Oak Mound Evangelical Church, Clarksburg, WV Western Most Picketed Point, Marietta, OH

To view more of Michael’s work, please visit his website.