Selecting “God’s Eye” – posted in Boulder, CO December 2nd, 2016

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I have been selecting images from the work I accomplished last year at the Obras Artist Residency working with Luis Branco, Rui Fernandes and Cydney Payton to put in the exhibit I have with Luis Branco in Estremoz, Portugal at the  Palacio dos Marqueses da Praia e Monforte in January 2017, yes that is next month! I am re-looking at this whole series of images that we made on the terrace at Herdade de Marmelaire in October of 2015. Rui Fernandes was operating the camera on the drone and Cydney and Luis were directing. I am going to select two of these images for the show and I kind of love them all🙂 – what a dilemma! Also thank you to Bella Newell for the beautiful red and black fabric construction.

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there’s Cydney fixing and directing



These are just drafts. Not sure which ones to choose for the show?



Exhibition in Portugal in January 2017! – posted in Portugal – November 4th, 2016


Reencontrando-a / Meeting Her Again, Sherry Wiggins in collaboration with Luis Branco,  2015

Artworks produced at the Obras Art Residency, Evoramonte, Portugal

Artist Sherry Wiggins (USA) in collaboration with

photographer Luis Filipe Branco (Portugal)

Title: Reencontrando-a / Meeting Her Again

Sherry Wiggins came to Portugal and to the Obras Art Residency -inspired by the remarkable work of Portuguese conceptual artist Helena Almeida. Almeida has used her body and simple spaces to make photographs often elaborated with blue or red paint since the late 1960’s. Wiggins own artwork combines the mediums of drawing, installation, performance, photography and sculpture – methods that she has used for the last three decades.

Wiggins uses her own body, with red, black and white fabric, in photographs that unite elements of drawing, installation and the performance of small, nuanced, intricate actions in the studio and in the Portuguese landscape and environment of the Alentejo. These works are collaborations with photographer Luis Filipe Branco, who has documented these actions and added his unique sense of the visual world and of the photographic image. Wiggins also worked with Rui Fernandes to capture images from above with a camera on a drone in the series titled Performing the Drawing / Realizar o Desenho. Curator and writer Cydney M. Payton was involved in many stages of these works both in Portugal and in the U.S. Wiggins has experimented with drawing on some of the photographic images with graphite and red and black paint. These works layer the physical experience, psychic process, photographic image, as well as the materials of the artist.

In these multi-layered works, Wiggins has found a profound connection to the archetypal / mythical feminine in the environment near Evoramonte (the Herdade de Marmelaire). Here she meets her Self again, merging with other Selves that are buried deep within her psyche, and indeed, within the souls of all women ─ for example, a queen trapped in a tower observing the environment before her; the goddess of the ravine both powerful and vulnerable; a woman in a black gown performing a strange dance on the white canvas; a mother, emerging, herself reborn, from the red flower; a matriarch whose feet are planted firmly on the ground, at home between the earth and sky. These and others recall classic characters in mythology and fairy tale, reflecting universal concerns in contemporary terms in a mystic, primordial landscape.

Wiggins first visited the Obras Artist Residency in 2015, and then returned in the fall of 2016 to make new works, and to collaborate with Luis Branco again. Wiggins will return again in January to exhibit a selection of these art works made in Portugal. The title of the exhibition is Reencontrando –a / Meeting Her Again.

This exhibition was made possible because of the generous support of the Obras Art Residency.

An exhibition at the:

Palacio dos Marqueses da Praia e Monforte

Estremoz, Portugal

Dates of the exhibition: January 28th to March 11th 2017

Opening Saturday January 28th, 2017


Reencontrando-a / Meeting Her Again, Sherry Wiggins in collaboration with Luis Branco,  2015

color and “sketching” on the image in grey, black, red and blue – posted at Obras Oct. 27th, 2016


These are some more initial “sketches” in Photoshop on digital images I took at the old mill that the Australian artists have cleaned and revealed several weeks ago. I will draw on the printed images with graphite and red, black and possibly blue paint. Again what is drawn and what is inserted and how color effects the image are ideas that I am interested in. The brilliant green of the tree reflects the beautiful green that is re-emerging here in the Alentejo with the “second spring” that the rains bring in October.








Pego do Sino – drawing on the photograph – posted at Obras October 26th, 2016


This place “Pego do Sino” or “Canyon of the Bells” is a place I visited last year. Noortje and Akiko led Cydney and I here near sunset. We four women artists had wine and cheese (always in Portugal!) and I was entranced. I did not have a camera with me that evening so I asked Akiko to send me a picture – thank you Akiko.

I wanted to return this year to the “pego”, so Ludger took me back by a new route as soon as I arrived this year. It is quite a mystical and mythical place at any time of the day or in any weather. All these photographs are mine with my Nikon – just thinking /drawing /looking  on this place.


Last night Luis Pintasilgo translated the word pego. It is not exactly the same word in Portuguese as canyon or ravine. A pego is a place where water collects even when there is no water in other places. The water can be quite deep. There can even be a vortex, something that pulls you down into it. The vortex can also transport you to another world/ place. There is a goddess associated with the pego too, that she might protect the place but she could also be a dangerous goddess.




I am drawing / scratching with no mouse in Photoshop with black and grey. Just initial “sketches.” Eventually I will draw with graphite and paint with black paint. I also took the black netting or black veil / veu that I brought with me and placed it on the rock and my feet. I like something photographer Luis Branco said when I showed him some of my sketches. You can’t tell what is the drawing and what is the photograph.


More “sketches” to come soon of other sites / sights here near the Obras Art Residency…

old water mill revealed – posted at the Obras residency in Portugal, October 18, 2016



Ludger took Norwegian artist Matias and I on a walk to some sites near the Obras Residency that I have not been to. I am scouting for the new/next project I am working on here in the landscape and environment. These images are just “snap shots” I am using to get going.

The old water mill site  pictured above and below is just beautiful and I am thinking about working with this space in altered images, performances and installations. Recent Obras residents, Australian artists Rubi Fiedler and Peter Emptage, worked here for several weeks excavating and removing the dirt, cutting away trees and revealing the remains of this old mill site. After this hard work they created a site-specific “happening” for this place. Unfortunately I did not meet them or attend the happening. It is wonderful to see the stones and bricks, doorways and stairs that climb and move up the hillside with trees surrounding and the sky above.




I want to utilize these artists hard work in a respectful way. It will not remain in this “pristine” state for long. I am contemplating how to use this site – ideas of transparency, movement, the veil of the landscape, excavation of the old, revelation, transformation, of the architecture and the landscape and perhaps inserting my own body within it as well. I will keep posting as things progress. Ciao.


Part II Portugal begins this week, leave Thursday! – posted in Boulder, CO. October 10, 2015


Installation in my studio in Boulder, CO. On the left: Performing the Drawing / Realizar o Desenho – images by Rui Fernandes. On the right: Flower / Flor – images by Luis Branco.

Above and below are shots of the work that I accomplished last year in Portugal -printed and installed in my studio in Boulder. Part I Portugal finished! The large installation piece Performing the Drawing / Realizar o Desenho (shot with a drone camera by Rui Fernandes) will be in the exhibit “ A Lasting Legacy” at the Boulder Public Library. It opens October 15th.


Enter / Entrar, Installation in my studio in Boulder, ten images printed on watercolor paper. Images by Luis Branco.

Part II Portugal begins this week too – I leave on this Thursday the 13th to do a new project in the landscape and beautiful environs near the Obras Foundation. I am bringing many meters of red and black fabric with me to install in the beautiful environment of the Alentejo. I am lucky to be working with photographers Luis Branco and Rui Fernandes again. I will post from Portugal as I go along.


“sketch” for a new seriesOn Land / Em Terra – black and white image near the tower at Evoramonte, Portugal painted with red pigment.


“sketch” for a new seriesOn Land / Em Terra – black and white image in front of the tower at Evoramonte, Portugal painted with red pigment. Image by Luis Branco.




Red and Black – posted Sept 4th, 2016 in Boulder

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Sherry Inhabiting Red (after Helena), image by Robert Kittila, 2016

I asked photographer Robert Kittila to take the above image of me last September when I was preparing to go to Portugal to study Portuguese conceptualist Helena Almeida’s work and make my own work at the  Obras Foundation. This image was part of my process of embodying Helena Almeida, I just recently “painted” the red in Photoshop.  Almeida inspired me to use myself as the subject in my own artwork and this has engendered a deeply personal process for me, and in fact has led me away from Almeida’s methods to discover my own methods. Below is the image of Helena Almeida’s that I was imitating with her signature blue paint.


Inhabited Painting, 1977, Helena Almeida, photograph with acrylic paint

My journey to Portugal last fall and the work I accomplished there has taken on a dreamlike and mythical significance for me. I love the work I accomplished in the studio at Obras using my own body in actions and performances with the red and black and white cloth constructions and environments. While working at Obras, I was also drawn into the beautiful surrounding landscape and environment. This broke me away from Almeida’s way of working. Her magnificent body of work of the last 40 years has been almost entirely enacted in her studio or in interior spaces.  Nature,  landscape and architecture has been part of my art and life from my early days making site-specific sculptures – so finding this mystical landscape in Portugal was a return of sorts for me. I am currently sorting through the images I took last fall and those that photographer Luis Branco took of me in various beautiful environments near the Obras Foundation and the nearby medieval fortress at Evoramonte. I am preparing for my next series of works in Portugal. I will be returning to Portugal in October (October 14th to November 14th) for a month’s residency at the Obras Foundation to complete this project.

There is a stark and mystical quality to this area of Portugal – with it’s ancient groves, magic stones, medieval castles, roaming sheep, and sacred mountains. The sorting and sketching (in red and black) process I have been doing is like analyzing and revealing a long and lucid dream. There is a very feminine and sensuous aspect to these environs and to my images and actions within them. A narrative is developing – a mythical passage of sorts. I have already begun this course and now I am compelled to finish it – though I am not exactly sure of its outcome or direction. It will take form on top of the mountain at Evoramonte and in the high tower there as well as in the valleys and groves below that I am returning to.

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on Evoramonte mountain with black, image by Luis Branco
“Black is primary to many forms of transformation, the imaginal hue of individual metanoia, a turning away, or a turning inward, or even a “dark night of the soul,” the luminous darkness of self-understanding. In the alchemical opus black signifies the eclipse of familiar patterns of identity and meaning. The nigredo is a state of disorientation, exhaustion, self-doubt, depression, inertia, confusion, and disjunction. Yet, the alchemists found the nigredo not cause for dismay, but for rejoicing; it expressed conjunction with psyche’s illimitable, teeming potential in which could be conceived the golden embryo of self.”– (Ronnberg, Ami ed. The Book of Symbols – Reflections on Archetypal Images, Taschen, 2010. pg. 658)

I am continuing to make  preparatory sketches in Photoshop for this new series and posted a few of them here as well as in my last blog post – “Sketches from Portugal.” For this new series I will use red and black paint on the black and white images and I will also install large swathes of red and black cloth on my body, in the landscape, in gateways and in the shadows of the trees, etc. and photograph these actions and installations. I am not sure which method is more effective, the paint or the cloth, so I will do both and figure it out as I go. For now I am sketching in Photoshop with black and red “paint.”

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at the gate of the Evoramonte Fortress with red, image by Luis Branco
“In many cultures, red is associated with fiery intensity, ardor, daring, bravery, which can move into fury and cruelty. This aspect of red is expressed in African symbolism both by the color and by the idea of nyama, the potential force in all things and the bodies of all beings, especially in the blood. This potent energy fills witnesses with both wonder and fear. And to the alchemists, rubedo or reddening was the last stage of the long process of making gold or, psychologically, integrating the personality. It meant nothing less then bringing spiritual realization into full-blooded reality, lived out fully in everyday life.”(Ronnberg, Ami ed. The Book of Symbols – Reflections on Archetypal Images, Taschen, 2010. pg. 640)

I am imagining and developing a narrative for this new series (in red and black) that I hope to accomplish next month in Portugal with the help of photographers Luis Branco and Rui Fernandes, and with the support of Ludger van der Eerden and Carolien van der Laan of the Obras Foundation. I have found a loose and fruitful relationship with the ancient Greek mythical figure of Psyche. Psyche accomplishes a series of tests and tasks in the  Myth of Psyche and Eros – many of which  I have found to be similar with my own experiences.  There are sacred mountains, black rivers, plunging valleys, many obstacles, as well as talking towers and helpful eagles in Psyche’s journey– which all correspond to the Portugal of my imagination and my experience. I am very excited (and a little afraid) to be going back to Portugal to enact this dreamlike narrative.

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on the top of Evoramonte tower with red, image by Luis Branco