Biography

Joyce Cutler-Shaw is an artist of intermedia, including drawings, installations, public projects and artist’s books. She has exhibited internationally since 1972. Her works are represented in both museum and library special collections internationally.

  • Artist Statement

    The Artist in Her Studio
    My works are multi-media, including drawings, installations, public projects and artists books. Drawing is at the heart of my work Ð drawing as a way of knowing, as a mode of inquiry, as a visual language. Language images and word as image have informed my works from the onset; such as word sculptures, from large iconic SHE and HE in metal; to the word SURVIVAL carved of ice, as a melting word poem for public sites; to Namepoems using the repetition of a first name as image. A signature, written in cursive, is a form of self-portrait.

    My Alphabet of Bones is an original calligraphy inspired by the hollow bones of birds. Its 26 double characters have been digitalized and can be translated into the English alphabet as well as a symbolic code. It is my own copyrighted font or typeface.

    Artists books are integral to my works at every level, from proposal pieces and visual documents of installations and public works, to limited editions and unique book objects. My subjects are human identity and the natural world. My themes are evolution, survival and transformation: from reptile into bird, from mammal to human, and from human, perhaps, to humane.

  • Joyce Cutler-Shaw is an artist of intermedia, including drawings, installations, public commissions and artists books. Drawing is her primary language, from two dimensional pen and ink works on paper, to their sculptural translations. Her Alphabet of Bones is an original calligraphy inspired by the hollow bones of birds. It has been digitalized and is her own copyrighted font, or typeface. The Alphabet of Bones has been widely published and is central to her many artists books, including The Three Cages, which was chosen in competition for publication by the Center for the Book Arts in New York.

    Her artworks since 1972 include two and three dimensional language images for private and public sites such us the word sculptures for her United Nations Plaza installation project, Waters of the Nations/Messages from the World. Her fifteen-year project, The Messenger Cycle (1975-90), was widely exhibited and published. Her current project, The Anatomy Lesson (1990-Present) is its sequel. She is the first visual artist to be appointed Artist-In-Residence, as a Visiting Scholar (1992-Present), by the School of Medicine at the University of California San Diego, and the first nationally, to have such a medical school residency for an independent fine art project. It is titled The Anatomy Lesson, a contemporary re-vision of a traditional theme. She approaches the body as the matrix of the human condition. Her subjects are human identity and the natural world. Her themes are evolution and survival: from reptile into bird, from mammal to human, and from human, perhaps, to humane.

    Her public commissions since 1999, include the Mission Valley Branch Library in San Diego, as design team artist with Wheeler, Wimer, Blackman & Associates, Architects (1998-2002). She received a San Diego American Institute of Architects design award for her eight column Sycamore Leaf Canopy, one of her three permanent library installations. The project was commissioned by The City of San Diego Library Department, and The City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture. A current commission is for artwork for a modern addition to the original East Carnegie Library in San Jose, California.

    She has exhibited internationally since 1972. Her works are presented in both museum and library special collections including New YorkÕs Museum of Modern art, The 42nd Street Library, the Albertina Museum in Austria, The Teylers Museum in the Netherlands, the Wellcome Institute in London, the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., and in California, at the Getty Museum Library, The University of California San Diego and The Athenaeum Music and Arts Library in La Jolla.

    SELECTED INDIVIDUAL EXHIBITIONS/PUBLIC PROJECTS/PROJECTS IN PROCESS

    2011
    Body Narratives: From the Anatomy Lesson, Smilow Gallery, New York University School of Medicine, New York City, March 24- May 6
    2010-2011
    Orbital Loops, public metal sculpture commissioned by the County of San Diego, County Operations Center, San Diego CA
    2009
    Of Water and the River: Meditations on the Rio Grande, New Mexico State University, University Art Gallery, Las Cruces, NM, Sept 11- Oct. 25
    Joyce Cutler-Shaw, books, Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, North Reading Room, La Jolla, CA, June 30-July 25
    2006-2009
    Light Lines and The East Carnegie Calligraphy, East Carnegie Library, Public Art Commission,San Jose, CA

    2008
    The Anatomy Lesson XX, drawing Installation, dimensional drawings, artists books and a drawing DVD, School of Medicine,
    University of California San Diego, May 2 – August 15
    2007-2008
    Into Flight, courtyard sculpture, private commission, The White Sands of La Jolla, CA. MW Steele Group Architects
    2007
    Four part installation with Dimensional Alphabet of Bones, Alphabet of Bones Drawings and Poster, Aikido Drawings and
    Artists Books, North University Community Branch Library, San Diego, CA
    Episodes of the City, Fales Library Gallery, New York University, New York City, 25 May – August
    Bone and Bird Works, (two person exhibit with Sarah Perry), Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California,
    14 February – 21 April
    The Anatomy Lesson XIX: The Anatomy Scroll, DVD installation and drawings, School of Medicine, University of California
    San Diego, May-October
    2006
    The Anatomy Lesson XVIII: Body Iconography, DVD installation and drawings, School of Medicine,University of California
    San Diego, June-October
    2005
    Artist Residency, 2005 Chiayi Art Festival on the Tropic of Cancer. Two installations: The Museum of Seasonal Change and Wild Birds of Taiwan. Chiayi County, Taiwan. June 22-July 7
    Bodyscapes II from The Anatomy Lesson, Video installation and drawings, School of Medicine,
    University of California San Diego, May-October
    2004
    Body Language: New and Retrospective Drawings from The Anatomy Lesson, Platt Gallery, University of Judaism,
    Los Angeles, CA. Opening June 6 through September 3, 2004.
    The Language of Gesture from The Anatomy Lesson, University of California San Diego, Faculty Club, La Jolla, CA.
    Opening June 23, through October 6, 2004
    2003
    Library Quartet, Four concurrent temporary exhibitions, Language Images, University of California San Diego
    Geisel Library; The Anatomy Lesson: A Conversation with Johannes de Ketham, The Athenaeum Music and Art Library;
    Drawings/Dimensional Drawings, The Taylor Public Library San Diego; Three Sculpture Installations on permanent view (July 2002) and exhibition of Public Projects, Mission Valley Branch Library, San Diego, CA. September-November
    The Anatomy Lesson: Unveiling the Fasciculus Medicinae, Limited Edition, Hand Press Artists Book, Robin Price Publisher,
    Conn. A dialogue with a 15th century medical text for publication, and exhibition at The Athenaeum Music & Art Library,
    La Jolla, CA, September-November
    2002
    A Decade of Drawing, Selected works from ten years of an artist residency, Video Installation, Artists Books and Drawings,
    School of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA. September-February
    1999-02
    Three Installation Projects for the Mission Valley Branch Library, San Diego, CA (WWB Architects, San Diego)
    Sycamore Leaf Cascade for Children’s Library; The Railing of Wild River Grasses of sandblasted glass for the balcony
    and staircase; The Sycamore Leaf Canopy for eight structural columns, winner, American Institute of Architects, San Diego
    Design Award 2002, Commissioned by The City of San Diego Library Department and The City of San Diego Commission
    for Arts and Culture. Dedication July 20, 2002
    2001
    The Anatomy Lesson XII: Memory Pictures, Installation and Video, Body Duplicates/Replicates (dimensional drawings),
    School of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA. May-July
    2000
    The Anatomy Lesson XI: Body Botanicals/Body Geography; School of Medicine, University of California San Diego, May-June
    1999-00
    Urban Landscapes: three installations of bamboo and grasses, (1999) and New York Cityscape: dimensional metal
    wall sculpture, Boardroom (2000), Corporate Commission, 560 Lexington Ave, 15th floor, New York City
    1999
    The Open Cage of Wild Birds and Grasses, two 17′ outdoor street corner sculptures for Stonecrest Village,
    San Diego, CA. Commissioned by California Pacific Homes of The Irvine Company. Dedication September 16, 1999
    Five Installation Projects for the new Balboa Park Activity Center, Commissioned by the City of San Diego CA:
    two terrazzo floor paintings; sandblasted glass doors; The Circle and the Self, a picture story in 72 metal plates
    for indoor walls, and in 25 terrazzo tiles for outdoor plaza. (Rob Quigley & Richard Blackman, architects). Dedication April 24, 1999
    1998
    The DNA Caduceus, commissioned by Aligned Management Associates, Inc., for “Medicine Meets Virtual Reality” conference publications.
    Buildingscape, a dimensional metal wall sculpture commissioned for Barnhart Corporate Board Room by WWB Architects, San Diego, CA
    Thirty-Six Steps of the Lamed-Vov, permanent outdoor sculpture installation, Gani Art Garden, San Diego, CA
    1997-99
    The Anatomy Lesson IX & X, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, May-June 98 & May-June 99
    1997
    Fence of Wild Grasses, permanent installation, 4′ x 62′, hand-wrought iron, Lopez Park overlook, San Diego, CA, private commission
    1996
    Body Archaeology: from The Anatomy Lesson, Huntington Beach Art Center, Huntington Beach, CA, September-November
    Sorrento’s Anatomy: Enchantments Across Time, Gallery 3770 Park, San Diego, CA, February
    The Anatomy Lesson VIII, School of Medicine, University of California San Diego, three installations, February
    1995
    The Journey and The Passage, 9′ x 40′ mural collage and 9′ x 6′ three layered sandblasted glass work, private
    commission, Andison House, Rancho Santa Fe, CAThe Anatomy Lesson VII, School of Medicine, University of California San Diego, three installations, February/March
    1994
    The Anatomy Lesson: The Human Condition/La Condicion Humana: inSITE94 (A two-city project) Two one-person
    installations: entrance atrium, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Diego, and the facade and entrance
    waiting room, Hospital General de Tijuana, Mexico, September-NovemberThe Anatomy Lesson, Fine Arts Center, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, MarchThe Anatomy Lesson, Art Gallery, California State University Los Angeles, March-April

    1993
    The Anatomy Lesson: Re-Vision (drawings, texts, new imaging systems), School of Medicine, University of California
    San Diego, School of Medicine, four installations, May-June
    1992
    Graphic Notes for the Anatomy Lesson, inSITE92, Southwestern College Gallery, San Diego, CA, October
    1990
    Into Flight/OP Wieken, Teylers Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands, September-November (from The Messenger Cycle)
    Carlsbad Water Stories, Magee Park, Carlsbad, CA, June-July (City of Carlsbad commission for temporary outdoor installation)
    1989
    Seacrest Donor Namewall, commission for the Seacrest Village Retirement Community, Encinitas, CA
    1988
    Two Deaths, Intersection Gallery, San Francisco, CA. April-May
    1987-92
    In the Garden of Exotic Blooms, The Banquet, Green Leaves, and Leaves of Gold: four installation projects
    commissioned for Volt Corporate Park, Orange, CA
    1986
    Wingtrace/The Sign of its Track, exhibition, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, January-March, 1986;
    Herbert Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, May-July, 1986 (exhibition, installation, performance)
    Messenger; A Performance (with Actor/Director Arthur Wagner), Sushi Performance Gallery, San Diego, CA,
    October 7, 1986, and American Museum of Natural History, New York City, NY, October 24, 1986
    1984-85
    Wingtrace/The Sign of its Track, exhibition, San Diego Museum of Natural History, December 1984 – January 1985, and
    1985 Messenger, reading/performance, January 11, 1985
    1983
    Wingtrace, reading/performance, Festival of the New Arts, San Diego, CA, May 20, 1983
    Messenger, exhibition, reading/performance, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose, CA, November
    1982
    Messenger, reading/performances, Center for Music Experiment, University of California San Diego, April 3, 1982;
    DC Space, Washington, DC June 3, 1982; Nexus Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, June 4, 1982
    Messages from the World/Waters of the Nations, United Nations Plaza, San Francisco, August 6, 1982,
    opening event for International Sculpture Conference with support of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and
    UNESCO patronage; United Nations Plaza, New York, NY, October 20, 1982 (poems of ice)
    1981
    Messenger, reading/performances, Center for Music Experiment, University of California, San Diego, March 7,1981;
    La Mamelle Gallery, San Francisco, CA, October 2 and 3, 1981; Espace DBD, Los Angeles, CA,
    October 24, 1981 (Espace DBD Director, Rachel Rosenthal)
    1980
    Namewall II, temporary outdoor installation, corner Poydras & St. Charles Aves., New Orleans, Louisiana,
    January 28-February 4, Project Sponsor; New Orleans Downtown Development District
    Charity Namewall, permanent installation, Charity Hospital, New Orleans, Louisiana, Project Sponsor: New Orleans
    Downtown Development District
    1979
    The Lady and the Bird, Apropos Gallery, Luzern, Switzerland, exhibit and reading/performance, April-May
    1978
    Word Portraits and Graphic Theatre, University of Missouri, St. Louis, Missouri, March-April
    Wings for the Voyageur de Beyrouth, Galerie Gaeten, Geneva, Switzerland, June
    Word/Image/Project, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA, March-April
    1977
    The Lady and the Bird, La Mamelle, San Francisco, CA, December
    1976
    We the People, Bicentennial Project Proposal for the U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC
    The Lady and the Bird, Fisher Gallery, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, September-October
    Three Directions, Newport Harbor Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA (three one person exhibits with
    Agnes Denes and Channa Horwitz)
    1975
    After Namewall, University of California Irvine, January-February
    1974
    The Namewall, 280 foot long wall transformation, International Terminal 2, first installation by an individual artist for
    Los Angeles International Airport, Los Angeles, CA, April 5-June 2