Cher Shaffer (born 1947)
Cher Shaffer’s Native American heritage combined with her experiences growing up in rural Georgia, have imbued her with a deep connection to nature and a visionary spirit. Her mother, a Native American, taught her to live with the earth and value the world of dreams. Her German father, a staunch Baptist, instilled in her a respect for the spiritual side of life. As a result, Shaffer’s creations are guided by ancestral memory and expectations. Shaffer began painting seriously in 1978, as part of the grieving and healing process after the death of her mother. Her early works involved recreating scenes of rural life drawn from her childhood memories of the South. Shaffer eventually shifted from these folk art themes to fantasy environments rich with bright colors. After experiencing heart failure in 1985, Shaffer’s work began to explore death and mortality, emerging from a “primal level” - created from her very core. Shaffer’s darker work is also balanced by a lighter, more whimsical side. In 1989 Shaffer’s work appeared in the exhibition, “O, Appalachia: Artists of the Southern Mountains” and in the publication by the same title. She had a one-person show at the Owensboro Museum of Art in Kentucky in 1992 and retrospective exhibition at Colorado State University in 1993. Cher Shaffer currently lives in North Carolina.