Statement: Maria Sheets is a decades long professional art objects conservator and painter in the mediums of oil, egg tempera and glass pigments.
Sheets spent her childhood in the top story of a Russian Orthodox Church in San Francisco where her grandmother(a nurse), great aunt and great Uncle(a Russian Orthodox priest and Iconographer) lived. Early impressions of the liturgical arts were made as she attended the glittering, low chanted masses surrounded by Byzantine styled icons of Biblical figures and watched her reverend/uncle paint icons in the traditional manner using time honored materials such as natural gesso, clay bole, egg tempera, ground pigments and gold. However, being a female, she was only allowed to watch and prohibited from actually creating the icons. This did not stop her from absorbing the passion of the creative process nor keep her from sneaking behind the iconostasis screen to handle the shiny sacramental vessels and icons. Later, she would be allowed to treat these same liturgical artifacts as an art conservator. Sheets' own work, although symbolically influenced by these childhood traditions, now uses them in her own brand of transcendentalism inspired contemporary social realism themed portraiture.
Holding a Masters of Humanities from UT Dallas and a Professional Associates Status Certificate from the American Institute for Conservation, Sheets was contracted as chief conservator for the fire recovery project at the Museum of Biblical Art and the National Jewish Collection in Dallas, Texas. In addition to treating contemporary, historic, liturgic, and archaeological artifacts for private collections, galleries, museums for over two decades, she teaches courses on collections care, painting, and traditional liturgical arts such as gilding, pysanky, traditional iconography, and glass painting/fusing.
Sheets has been contracted by large glass firms for numerous architectural glass commissions which include universities, houses of worship, businesses and private residences nationally. Her work was chosen in recent juried exhibitions such as American Glass Guild NOW 2016(juror, contemporary artist Judith Schaechter), Texas National 2018 (juror Jed Perl, international art critic) and Materials Hard and Soft International Craft Exhibition 2019 (2nd place of 1100 entries).