© 2023 by Emma Dei.

Mirror Shards: Sheri / Dragon


2011 Charcoal, mixed media, collage, papers metal and watch parts on board.


The Dragon is the only imaginary animal in the Mirror Shards series. Dragons have existed in myriad cultures around the world. They've been used to express power, freedom, pride, ferocity, aggression, greed, loyalty, and an ancient, timeless wisdom, to name just some of their traditional aspects. Dragons represent extremes of both good and evil. Their breath of fire (or ice, in some stories) is a yearning for one's voice to become awesomely powerful.

The Dragon is a compound animal. As such is a perfect example of our great need of animal metaphors. Animals let us experience versions and aspects of ourselves that nothing else can. If no single animal suits our needs, we cobble together existent creatures to attain something that can't be achieved through a single beast. A Dragon is part lizard, tiger, lion, and snake. Part dinosaur, bull, bat, eagle and dog.

Calling up one's inner Dragon is a risky business, though. Its ferocity and aggression enables one to prevail in the face of a painful or terrifying experience. But the anger and pride of one's inner Dragon can lead to isolation and hurtful behavior, damaging those closest to us. It is a solitary being braced against injury.

The woman bearing this Dragon is Chicago-based painter Sheri Rush. Sheri has coped with difficulties through a stubborn, focused determination. We've often talked about how to maintain while trying to make art – and achieve equilibrium in the face of family and personal drama. Her paintings of wild landscapes resemble entire forests going up in flames. The Dragon she wears is part fortress, part weapon, and part cage, magnifying and entrapping her body in equal measure. Its slightly rickety construction speaks of the assemblage that is Dragon.

Sheri Rush can be found at http://www.sherirush.com/