Tony Scherman: An Exploration of His Unique Art Pieces and Career

Tony Scherman: An Exploration of His Unique Art Pieces and Career

From his pioneering use of encaustic to his distinctive portrayal style, Tony Scherman's oeuvre is a testament to mastery and innovation in the realm of fine art. Explore the life and brilliant art pieces of our featured, esteemed Canadian artist.

To this date, fine art remains as one of the most emotional and appealing forms of artistic expression, as each art piece is a testament to the indomitable spirit of human creativity. It's within the captivating strokes of paint, the intricate molding of sculptures, and the poetic dance of colors that the wonders of talent unfold.

The Art Dome proudly features artists from around the world, offering fine art collectors a myriad of possibilities to suit their tastes and preferences. This time, we are introducing Tony Scherman, a contemporary Canadian painter whose innovative techniques and thought-provoking narratives continue to encourage aspiring artists and captivate the hearts of art enthusiasts worldwide.

A Quest For Expression: Tony Scherman’s Life And Career

Born in Toronto, Canada, in 1950, Tony Scherman's fascination with art bloomed at a young age. He grew up in London, where he attended Byam Shaw School of Art, specialized in fine arts, and later on graduated with a Master of Art at the Royal College of Art; it was there where he was introduced to the ancient art of encaustic painting, a technique that would soon become his signature style.

Only two years after graduating, Scherman was invited to participate in “The Human Clay”, a remarkable and controversial exhibition from the Arts Council England that toured galleries in Canada, the United Kingdom and Belgium, featuring 48 European artists from which Scherman was the youngest.

This achievement landed him as an emerging fine artist with a growing international presence, marking the beginning of his professional artistic journey. Upon returning to Toronto in 1976, Tony Scherman’s career blossomed with over 100 solo exhibitions in Canada, the United States and Europe, plus numerous contributions to fine arts education as lecturer, seasonal instructor and adjunct professor.

In 2005, Scherman was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, a homage to his extraordinary work throughout the years. He passed away at the age of 72, in February of 2023 – a sad strike to the fine arts world, though his legacy will live on forever.


Unveiling Tony Scherman’s Artistry: The Encaustic Technique

Scherman's artistic prowess transcends conventional boundaries. Renowned for his mastery in encaustic painting, he painted landscapes, still life, and both human & animal figures with a distinct contemporary flair.


The ancient art of encaustic painting involves a meticulous process where wax, oil paint and pigments are blended together to fashion rich, textured layers that resemble the complexity and volatility of human experiences, even in its employment: while the mixing process is usually slow, it requires a quick execution, since the blend dries almost as soon as applied.


The encaustic method, akin to an "archaeology of layers” as described by Scherman himself, offers a unique depth and sensuality to his art pieces, which are rooted in tradition in terms of composition, but reflect an Abstract-Expressionist essence in action, with bold strokes, drips, intricate textures, and various materials.

Portraying Power and Vulnerability: Tony Scherman’s Artistic Narrative

Scherman’s creations have both reverenced and influenced contemporary fine arts, with encaustic as his primal technique and portrayals as his most distinctive art pieces, although he also produced notable faunae and still life paintings, such as Red Peaches, a vibrant work of art available on our website.


He had a keen ability to address social and political issues through his artworks, referencing historical moments like the French Revolution (conveyed in his painting “About 1879” and the exhibition series Chasing Napoleon), or the American Civil War (through his painting series titled About 1865, which included portraits, still life, and even imagined sceneries).


His most iconic work, however, is the portrait series Difficult Women, presented for the first time in 2015 at New York’s Winston Wächter Fine Art. The series encapsulates feminine icons as stoic yet emotive figures: Scherman intended to spotlight women historically labeled as 'difficult' due to their principles and determination, sparking conversations about power, resilience, and the complexities of femininity.



These large-scale renditions portrayed female celebrities, politicians, athletes, and Scherman’s acquaintances among other women who stroked the artist with their influential power. Rosa Parks, Serena Williams, Marilyn Monroe, and Margaret Thatcher are pictured as visually arresting characters, layered with historical themes and contemporary relevance.


His portraits of these high-ranking women captivate with their imposing gazes and indistinct backgrounds, resembling cinematic close-ups where facial expression is the protagonist. The results are solemn, timeless depictions in earthy tones that resonate with a sense of familiarity and dream-like quality, as characters’ faces seamlessly emerge from the darkness. 


The deliberate lack of resolution in compositions amplifies the emotional depth of these art pieces, symbolizing the ongoing, fragmentary stories of these significant individuals. 

Scherman believed that paintings should remain incomplete to reflect the inherent untamed essence of those life stories that can’t be contained; he would work on the same portrait for years before moving on to the next one, and still leave it slightly unfinished to convey this feeling.

A Legacy That Transcends The Canvas

This exploration of Tony Scherman's life and artistry is merely a glimpse into the captivating universe he has created through his artworks. His innovative use of encaustic and the profound portrayal skills depicted in art pieces like the 'Difficult Women' series stand as a testament to his unparalleled talent and narrative depth.


Sherman’s ability to infuse historical context with contemporary relevance incites a powerful cultural dialogue that resonates even in the present day. As you further explore the extent of Scherman's art pieces, you will enter an artistic universe waiting to be discovered, interpreted, and cherished.


The Art Dome brings you closer to one-of-a-kind artists and their mesmerizing artworks. Stay tuned for more! 


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