Solitaire, 36 x 45 inches, Oil on linen, 2013


This exhibition celebrates thirty years of creativity from this nationally known artist, a master of landscape, still life, and portraiture. Imagination and observation are beautifully entwined in these thoughtful and deeply personal images.

Major paintings, pastels, and drawings from Tapley’s early career will be on view, as well as an exciting group of recent works. Most have never before been publicly exhibited in Kentucky.

A concurrent exhibition of the artist’s life drawings and oil studies will be on display at the Aegon Gallery in the Jones Visual Arts Center at Centre College. An illustrated catalog of the two exhibitions will be available.

Tapley is the Stodghill Professor of Art at Centre College, where he has taught since 1983.

A reception for this event will be held Thursday, April 2 at 4:30 p.m. You can learn more about the event here.

“Sheldon Tapley revitalizes, indeed, electrifies the still life genre by combining aspects of contemporary life with painterly constructs derived from the history of Western art.”

From Master of the Not-So-Still Still Life, by Daniel Brown; The Artist’s Magazine, May 2012.

Distinguished New York gallerist Peter Tatistcheff described the paintings of Sheldon Tapley as having “a magical believability”. The artist’s exhibitions at Tatistcheff Gallery established him as painter of national reputation, whose art is in public and private collections across the country. His works have been reviewed in The New Yorker, and published with major articles in American Artist, and The Artist’s Magazine.

“Tapley masterfully blends the discipline of a hard-earned classical technique with a vision that is thoroughly modern and personal,” wrote Bill Creevy in American Artist. The artist’s pastel, Jury Rig, was on the cover of the magazine. Kentucky Educational Television featured the artist in the documentary series Looking at Painting, directed by artists Robert Tharsing and Guy Mendes. Tapley was filmed at work in his studio and at the Speed Museum in Louisville, discussing a still life painting by Cézanne. In 2019, the artist was interviewed in an episode of Kentucky Life on Kentucky Educational Television.

Fourteen solo exhibitions have presented Tapley’s art to the public, including two at museums:  The Center for Contemporary Art, Sacramento, and The Evansville Museum. Museums and public institutions that have exhibited his art in group shows include: The Painting Center in New York City, The Naples Museum of Art in Florida, Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, Windgate Art & Design, The Arkansas Arts Center, University of Kentucky Art Museum, University of Mississippi Museum, The Southern Ohio Museum, and the Faulconer Gallery at Grinnell College, his alma mater. Tapley exhibits with Zeuxis, an association of painters that curates touring shows for museums and universities.

Commercial galleries that have represented Tapley’s work include Tatistcheff Gallery in New York City; Harris Gallery in Houston, Texas; Linda Schwartz Gallery in Lexington, Kentucky; Jerald Melburg Gallery in Charlotte, North Carolina; M.A. Doran Gallery in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Cincinnati Art Galleries in Ohio.

Honors awarded to the artist include the Martha & Merrit deJong Memorial Artist-in-Residence at The Evansville Museum. The Kentucky Arts Council awarded him an Al Smith Fellowship. At Centre College, he has been awarded the Kirk Prize for excellence in teaching, the Cantrell Endowed Professorship, and the Stodghill Endowed Professorship.

A devoted teacher, Tapley has enjoyed teaching at Centre College since 1983. His many students have pursued careers as artists, designers, architects, professors and schoolteachers. He often paints and draws alongside his students in the studio. “Working with students, seeing their skill, creativity, and confidence grow, is very rewarding. I stay in touch with many alumni. It is a great pleasure watching their careers develop.”

Tapley’s home is in Danville, Kentucky. He was born in Maracaibo, Venezuela, in 1959, to British parents, and raised in Europe and North America.

Painter and Draftsman
January 6, 2020 – May 31, 2020

This exhibit is free and open to the public 9 am – 4 pm Monday through Friday, as well as by appointment and when the Norton Center is open for concerts and related activities.