Sheldon Greenberg


Sheldon Greenberg began his art career as an illustrator, the influence of which can be seen in his colorful and narrative compositions. Where he previously painted representational realism, Greenberg is now more intrigued with abstraction. Despite the abstract nature of his work, each composition offers glimpses of traversable space depending on the viewer’s perception and imagination. The relationship between reality and abstraction is a major component of Greenberg’s artistic practice. As the artist writes, “My work has always been about relationships. I am interested in making paintings that reference the dynamics of the translation of information from the actual to the painted process.”

Greenberg bases his compositions off of film, painting repeated images and strips of information that translate into a moment of time like what you might see in a movie. Images sometimes are overlapped, erased, or diffused and become something other than reality, like a memory or a dream. The facts are there, but hidden in a deluge of images that come about from the association that the artist is forming as he progresses through the process of painting. The result is a mixture of research, facts (actual or implied), and the desire to create layers of information with careful and important consideration to value, color, and composition.


Born in Louisiana and raised in the mid-west, Sheldon Greenberg moved to Southern California as a teenager and was immediately entranced by its landscape, architecture and light. After completing college in San Jose he moved to New York to study art at the Art Students League, and went on to earn his MFA in painting at the California College of Art in the early 1990s. Since 2003 he has been a professor at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, teaching Color theory, Design, Composition, Abstract and figurative painting. His exhibition history spans thirty years and includes shows in California, Texas, Florida, and London. While he is best known for large-scale figurative work influenced by pop and photo-realist painters of the 1960s-70s, he has maintained a parallel practice that focuses on abstraction, often mixed with print and stencil work. Staring in 2019, SLATE Art is honored to present his most recent series of paintings on canvas, which masterfully balance an abstract language with references to mid-century california architecture, pool silhouettes, and palm trees.