Sheila Pepe is best known for her large-scale, ephemeral installations and sculpture made from domestic and industrial materials. Since the mid-1990s Pepe has used feminist and craft traditions to investigate received notions concerning the production of canonical artwork as well as the artist’s relationship to museum display and the art institution itself.
Pepe has exhibited widely throughout the United States and abroad in solo and group exhibitions as well as collaborative projects. Venues for Pepe’s many solo exhibitions include the Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, Massachusetts, and the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, North Carolina. Her work has been included in important group exhibitions such as the first Greater New York at PS1/MoMA; Hand + Made: The Performative Impulse in Art & Craft, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Texas, and Artisterium, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. Pepe’s work was recently featured in the exhibition Queer Threads at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Lesbian and Gay Art in New York, and commissions for the 8th Shenzhen Sculpture Biennale, exhibitions include a commission for the ICA/Boston’s traveling exhibition Fiber: Sculpture 1960-present. Two new solo projects are scheduled for 2016 – a summer installation at Diverseworks, Houston, TX, with special event works by CORE participant Sondra Perry.
Pepe is also known as an educator who likes to trespass the boundaries of fixed disciplines in art and design. She has taught since 1995—for many years as adjunct faculty in a variety of programs and schools including Brandeis University, Bard College, RISD, VCU, and Williams College—until 2006 when she took a full-time position at Pratt Institute as the assistant chair of fine arts. Her own artistic development was a mix of academic training and non-degree granting residencies: BFA, Massachusetts College of Art, 1983; Haystack School, 1984; Skowhegan School, 1994; MFA, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 1995; and Radcliffe Institute, 1998–99. Pepe was a resident faculty member at Skowhegan School, 2013. She is now a Core Critic in the Painting + Printmaking Department at Yale University.