NomineeIra D Sherman
Nominee PronounsMr.
Nominee Phone(720) 900-7557
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Nominee Address1409 S. Washington
Denver, CO 80210
United States
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Nominee Resume or CVBackup-of-Resume-PDF.pdf
Additional Information 1Revenge-Protection-Redemption-the-Exhibition-Article.docx
Additional Information 2Art-Publica-Article.docx
Additional Information 3Metalsmith-Article.pdf
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Describe how the nominee fulfills the criteria for the IMPACT Award. Maximum 5000 characters.

Ira Sherman has rightly been called a modern-day Renaissance man. Along with his keen artistic talents, Sherman is also an adept engineer, inventor, teacher, musician and cultural thinker. These abilities are manifest throughout his career, but never more brilliantly than in his latest series of “Armored Chastity Couture.” This current body of work beautifully melds Sherman’s skills as a sculptor and jeweler with his technical prowess and moral commitments. The resulting pieces are captivating and timely, and confirm Sherman as a heavy metal wizard with a heart of gold.

At the root of Sherman’s creative project is a desire to probe, if not solve, pressing social issues. His early kinetic sculptures, titled “Panaceas to Persistent Problems: Devices for Social Survival,” were fueled by equal parts empathy and empiricism, with a dash of humor. The series includes ingenious works like The Arbitrator, a mechanism that forces two dissenting people to find common ground, and Pavlovian Trainer, which prevents the wearer from excessive talking. Sherman’s next series of “Impenetrable Devices” tackled the ugly subject of rape. These strap-on vigilantes were based on Sherman’s interviews with rape victims and deliver the vengeance many sought for their aggressors. Accordingly, Injector is equipped with pneumatically powered syringes to shoot dye and sedative into an attacker and Intimate Electric Fence is rigged to give electrical shocks. While these works mean business and can cause real harm, they are also knowingly designed to gently hug the female form.

Sherman’s “ Armored Chastity Couture” develops his earlier weaponized wear into enticing garb that sends mixed signals, both courting and thwarting physical contact. This duality echoes our culture’s contradictory messages about female sexuality; while hyper-sexualized display is encouraged, sexual agency and appetite is not. Sexiness, although celebrated and normalized, has become a liability in a toxic climate of sexual abuse, often leading to accusations of “you asked for it” for assault victims. Sherman’s sophisticated and fetching fashions join forces with the #Me Too movement, speaking loudly against the current epidemic of sexual harassment and violence. Every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S., leading to a terror-filled environment where women carry the burden of fear, restrained prisoners in a predatory world.

The inspiration for Sherman’s 21st-century armored lingerie came from historical chastity girdles that were mainly worn to protect women’s virtue and purity, not as shields against rape. Wearers of these metal confections become tangible and symbolic guardians of their own bodies. Sherman’s steel undergarments for both men and women generously allow one to be sexy and safe, inviting and invincible.

Aside from delivering a searing social critique, Sherman’s ironclad apparel is drop dead gorgeous. These bejeweled metal corsets, skirts, codpieces and headdresses partake of the opulence and graceful elegance found in Art Nouveau designs. In Sherman’s able hands, hard steel is tamed into soft flowing curves, undulating around the body with rhythmic linearity. Sherman has long been attracted to the organic contours of living forms, and he imparts this biomorphic aesthetic to the most unyielding materials. His extravagant fashions are also in keeping with images of women in Art Nouveau art, which typically exude a blend of allure and threat, both sensuous and sinister. Sherman updates these fin de siècle temptresses into suitably attired femme fatales for a #MeToo milieu.

Sherman’s chastity couture has been riveting audiences on runways and catwalks at fashion shows across the nation. . When encountered in a gallery context, off the semi-nude bodies of models, these elaborate fashion statements are no less provoking.

Founder (1994) and Chair of the Colorado Metalsmithing Association. Sherman founded this ongoing non-profit with a mission to promote excellence in Metalsmithing and to do outreach educational program and conferences. Sherman has inspired a long list of students and apprentices by sharing 40 years of metalsmith experience. Many of his students have gone on to their own careers in jewelry and met

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