Northeast Florida has gradually become a new home for prominent artists from around the country. The newest artist to relocate to our beach community is Sharon Booma, who recently moved from Boston to Ponte Vedra Beach. She is an abstract painter who has been exhibiting her work since 1986. Her repertoire of work has been shown in museum invitationals and prominent galleries, including Etienne Gallery, the Netherlands; Campton Gallery, New York, N.Y.; Arden Gallery, Boston, MA.; LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe, N.M., and Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Her work is in numerous private and corporate collections around the world, including London, Paris, Ibiza, Spain, Tokyo, Australia, Mexico, Curaçao and throughout the United States. She has been reviewed in several art publications and published in educational books which are used worldwide.
An amateur sculptor and seasoned arts administrator, I was eager to visit Booma’s new studio, and to learn about the journey that made her successful. Natural light floods the large space and reflects off the white walls and floors. It is a bright backdrop to the open shelves and work tables filled with various mediums, gesso pails, and cans containing artists’ tools, oil sticks, brushes and oil paint. Paintings in several stages of completion rest on the walls and floors. Booma explains that she works on several paintings
simultaneously to stimulate her mind and keep the work fresh; that it takes will to start a painting, but “will” doesn’t complete it – there needs to be a conversation between the artist and the painting. Her layers upon layers of paint culminate in a design of simplicity, much like the work of one of her influences, Robert Motherwell. She finds there is a close connection between art and life in the style of her work; that it’s a question of knowing yourself – your inner nature – and also understanding your limitations, accepting them, yet striving to overcome them.
She remembers being fascinated at a young age with her dad’s cartoon drawings, and wanting a book on drawing so she could learn for herself. After many years of practice, her first formal art class was in middle school where she learned contour drawing and slowly graduated to more difficult disciplines of study in subsequent years. A representational assignment in painting that turned abstract, astonished her college art professor and exposed her love of that form of expression which continues today.
Sharon’s persistence, spirituality and motivation are crucial components that make her, and her work, extraordinary. I am struck by the peacefulness of her work. Just as faith in God cannot be seen, she admits that faith or trust in her process of painting takes courage to remain open to controlled chance – to surrender to an unknown direction ahead. Her painting is a road from the the conscious to the subconscious; from the physical world to the world of dreams. Whether the works are on panel or paper, viewers are caught between their concentrated physicality and a delicacy rooted in emotion, memory and imagination. Her aspiration is towards harmony, an internal order that frames the composition, using the emotional force of color. For Booma, color is certainly the most distinguishing aspect of her work – surely the most compelling.
Color is read with a purposeful frame of reference, subjective in nature. One viewer’s reflections often will be different from another’s viewpoint. The juxtaposition of various colors many times produces a variety of reactions from the observer and all are valid, reinforcing the communicative capacity of art. Because of the somewhat unfinished or trembling edges within her work, one is allowed to participate in and complete the painting: to draw their own conclusions according to personal life experience.
Booma’s inherent mantra is to live in the moment. Her work organically evolves, submitting to the development of the piece until the painting reveals itself, and only then is she convinced that the painting is done. She feels compelled to continue to create, to make that human connection, to move and engage the heart and mind of the beholder.
Sharon Booma’s work will be available for acquisition at the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach from April 15 through May 27. The public is invited to meet the artist at the opening reception, April 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. Gallery hours: M – F 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information or for a private viewing, call Leigh Rodante, 904-280-0614 ext 203. Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach, 50 Executive Way, www.ccpvb.org.
Article written by Leigh Rodante