Artist Journey and Statement

Born in Washington, D.C., in 1952, Shelley Laffal began her art training in 1971 at the Maryland Art Institute in Baltimore. Traveling to Sasketchewan, Canada, she studied with Canadian artist Ernest Lindner at The Emma Lake Art Community and at the California Institute of The Arts (Cal Arts), in Valencia, California, with painter Paul Brach (husband of Miriam Shapiro).

After years of roaming the back streets of Santa Fe and Key West, and living in Costa Rica, Laffal found the moody colors and emotional intensity of Latin culture infusing her work - an influence that's still evident today.

In 1986 she returned to the nation's capital, where she spent a decade exploring sculpture as a way of extending her visual vocabulary. Developing a series of large scale garment/shrowd sculptures whose intricately painted surfaces and dramatic fossal-like female forms became her trademark. But her need to tell a more intimate and less abstract story inspired her to seriously explore figurative painting.

Current Work Portrait Fiction

In my new oil paintings I try to merge the contemporary human experience with the primitive, hidden part of us that seems headed for extinction. Using the genre of classic portrait painting, which is a departure from my previous fictionalized characters, I explore ways to express the viceral self and to provoke and reveal something true and beautiful.


Maryland Art Institute, Baltimore, Maryland -1970-71

Emma Lake Art Community (Maryland Art Institute Affiliate) in

Sasketchewan, Canada-1971

California Institute Of The Arts, Valencia, CA -1971

2002 Masters Class, Phillip Pearlstein, Corcoran Museum, Wash., DC 2002



2007 29th anniversary show, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC

2006 Capital Area Food bank Calendar Show, Zenith Gallery

2005 Food Glorious Food, Zenith gallery, Washington,DC

2002 Angels and Messengers, The Dennis & Phillip Ratner Museum, Bethesda,

2001 Touchstone Gallery, 2000 All Media Juried Show, Washington, DC

2000 Tyson II Corporate Headquarters, McLean, VA.,

1999 Washington Square, Wash., D.C.

1998 Treeman- Human, 20th Anniversary Show, Zenith Gallery, Wash., D C

1996 Gallery Artists, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC

1995 Figurative Show Waxlander Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico

1995 17th Anniversary Show, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC

1994 Annual Intro Show/Paintings, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC

1994 Art Across The Borders, The Art Museum Of The Americas, Washi, DC.,

1994 Indigo Galleries, Boca Raton, Florida.,

1993 Christmas Show, Zenith Gallery, Washington.DC

1993 Decorators' Show House, for Bloomingdales, Washington, DC.,

1992 Personal adornment, Textile Arts Centre, Chicago,IL

1992 Gallery Artists, Zenith Gallery, Washington,DC,

1991 Secret Lives, Solo Show, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC

1991 Art About Function, Washington Square, Washington, DC..,

1991 Group Show, Zenith Gallery, Washington, D.C.

1990 International Sculpture '90, Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland, 1990 Off The Wall, Quadrangle Developement Corp., Washington, DC,

1989 3rd Annual Humor Show, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC

1989 Debut Solo Show, Zenith Gallery, Washington D.C.,

1988 2nd Annual Humor Show, Zenith Gallery, Washington,DC

1985 Group Show, Joan Hodgell Gallery, Sarasota, Florida

1984 Group Show, Joan Hodgell Gallery, Sarasota, Florida

1981 Group Show II , Woman's Center, Sarasota , Fla, by Florida Fine Arts Council

1983 Hot Laps; Solo Show, Joan Hodgell Gallery, Sarasota, Florida 1982 Tampa Bay '82, Tampa Museum, Tampa, Florida

1980 Emerging Female Voice, Thomas Center Gallery, University Florida Gainsville, Florida

1979 4 Woman Artists; Sarasota, Fl. Sponsored by Florida Fine Arts Council

1974 Pirates Alley Gallery, Key West Florida

1973 Cabot Plaza Gallery, Taos, New Mexico


The Hechinger Collection, Washington,D.C.

The collection of Robert Kogad, Washington D.C.

The collection of Dr. N. Green, Potomac, Maryland

The collection of Andria and Harvey Boyarsky-Maisel, Potomac, Maryland

RM Designs, Upper Marlboro, Maryland

Ovations, Laurel, Maryland

The collection of Rhonda Levitt, Coral Gables, Florida

The collection of Dr. Jack Costa, Reston, Virginia

The collection of Prince Bendar - Ambassador of Saudia Arabia, McLean, VA

The collection of Prince Moataz Saud Abdulaziz, McLean, VA

The collection of Erwin Katz, Bethesda, Maryland

and many more...