Sheldon S. Iden

American, 1933 - 1993

Doge, 1984-85

  • Not On View

Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 72 × 72 in. (182.9 × 182.9 cm)

Gift of John and Jennifer Iden-Liss and Jessica E. Iden, 1997.40

A native Detroiter, Sheldon Iden studied at Wayne State University and Cranbrook Academy of Art and taught at Eastern Michigan University. While in India, he visited dark cave shrines of Ajanta which instilled in him a search for the meditative quality of light. After his return from India, Iden created immense works of art with thick, glossy surfaces. The reflective surfaces became mystical mirrors, transporting the viewer into the internal depths of the painting, allowing the viewer to participate in the actual work of art. These paintings were created by a complicated process, requiring layers of underpainting followed by a series of glazes of transparent color. In this manner, he created the shimmering quality of his work, the feeling that there is light and form just below the surface. In Doge, we see expression explored through abstract form. Through his technique, Iden offers us a canvas that is obscure and mysterious through its incomprehensible quality, revealing his mastery of his materials.

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