Good Friday by Honoré Sharrer

The indifference of the characters in this painting on a day commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus is thought to indicate American indifference to the suffering of the Vietnam war.
Collection of Burch and Louise Craig

After Reception, Sharrer’s work changes yet again. Brigham says, “From there, the work becomes increasingly more surreal and almost Mannerist. She’s using exaggeration and odd juxtapositions, shifts of scale, and everything is presented in a sort of abstract way.” Brigham cites Good Friday (1970–75), in which a family in their Sunday best walks past the feet of a crucifix. “Over to the right hand side are two dogs mating,” says Brigham. “It’s showing the holiest of holy days and the most normal act of procreation.”

Honoré Sharrer is a figure of contradictions. As a teenager she was the May Queen of her private high school in San Diego. A few years later, during World War II, she was an original Rosie The Riveter, working as a steel plate welder in a shipyard in San Francisco.

She married a staunch communist academic who was blacklisted from American universities, while at the same time painting religious imagery into her canvases.

“I don’t think Sharrer was at all religious, but she was obsessed with religious iconography. Most of it was focused on Catholicism,” said Jodi Throckmorton, curator of contemporary art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
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