Surrounded by Family & Friends

On View

November 6, 2006 – February 26 2007

Artist’s Reception

November 15, 2006 5:30-7:30 pm

Deidre Scherer’s Surrounded by Family and Friends explores family and mortality though her six life-sized fabric and thread works, which depict intergenerational and non-traditional families from culturally diverse groups. According to Scherer, “We die within our relationships, complex and rich. These ties include parents, children, partners, siblings, and friends, both human and animal.” Scherer creates her full-scaled panels from life, working through several hospice organizations to witness, draw, and photograph family groups who are caring for a dying person.

Surrounded By Family and Friends evolved from a series of nine fabric and thread works, The Last Year, in which Scherer chronicles the final months in an elderly woman’s life. Scherer notes, “Families and friends who support a loved one at the end of life witness the most powerful of life’s events. These are images of death that present dying as a natural part of life and that start a cultural dialogue and deeper reflection.”

The series includes: Open Window, At Night, Child, In Her Room, Three Men, and Bigger than Each Other. Her drawings for the show include: Study for At Night, Study #2 for At Night, Couple in Springfield, and Study of Couple.

Educated as a painter at the Rhode Island School of Design during the mid sixties, Deidre Scherer worked in oils, charcoal, and pencil before turning to fabric and thread. She developed a distinctive narrative approach in the medium of fabric and thread, using scissors and sewing machine as drawing tools and capturing the contours with multiple lines of colored threads, both blending and highlighting, to create a startling realism. While creating a portrait series of elders in her community, Scherer addressed issues on aging and mortality, and she pioneered the figurative potential of her medium.

Since the early 1980’s, Scherer’s work has appeared in more than 150 individual and group shows, including solo exhibitions at the Baltimore Museum of Art in Maryland; the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York; the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Massachusetts; the Dennis Woodman Gallery in London, England; and the Maltwood Museum in Victoria, British Columbia. In 1994 Scherer received a Fellowship from the Vermont Arts Council, and in 1998 C & T Publishing released her book, Deidre Scherer: Work in Fabric and Thread. In January 2000 she was awarded a Fine Arts Fellowship from the Open Society Institute’s Project on Death in America.

Images Available

please contact Rachel Litcofsky, 212-824-2205;

Museum Hours

Mondays-Thursdays, 9 am-5 pm; Fridays, 9 am-3 pm; Selected Sundays, 10 am-2 pm, Oct. 22; Nov. 5, 19; Dec. 10; Jan.14, 28; Feb. 11, 25; Mar. 11; Apr. 15, 29


Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum One West 4th Street (between Broadway and Mercer), Manhattan


(212) 824-2205;


Free, Photo ID Required