JENINE SHEREOS: Installation Artist and Sculptor


Jenine ShearosJenine Shereos’s residency application was jaw-dropping. Her small sculptures made with human hair were exquisite and unique and a good reminder that small work can pack a powerful punch. Like many who come to the residency, she abandoned her initial plan and responded instead to the materials available here in Chapala. The result was a spectacular site-specific installation.  – dek


Your website features amazingly delicate work using human hair. Tell us about what this material means, why you use it, and some of the history of hair art.

leaves detailFor the past few years, I have been attracted to working with hair. I often think of my work as dimensional drawing, and as a material, hair has the potential to produce such a fine, delicate line. I love the idea of working with detritus that is part of our everyday lives but goes unnoticed, and what it means to transform such a material and attribute meaning to it. I am also fascinated with the personal quality of hair. I love that it is an extension of the self that goes out into the leaves2world and is encoded with our unique DNA. It functions as a sort of memory or a trace. There is the reference to the Victorian mourning jewelry popular in the 1800s. And then there is of course the attraction/ repulsion juxtaposition. Hair is seen as attractive and even luxurious when it is on one’s head, and at the same time repulsive or disgusting when found as a single strand apart from the head.


6a011168ca5559970c0133ed7833e8970b-800wiYour residency was in Chapala, a small town in central Mexico. You live and work in Boston. How was it for you being in such a different environment and how did it influence the work you did during the residency?

Leaving behind the cold, dark New England winter for a month in Mexico was a welcome change! I was incredibly inspired by the light and the vibrant colors in Chapala, and I think that really came through in the installations I created while I was there.



mantis on yarnYour residency included visual artists, writers and a musician who seemed to form a special sense of community. Tell us about how this affected and inspired you during the residency.

I loved getting together with the other artists and talking about the creative process. It was great having a broad background of visual artists, writers, and a musician, and I really enjoyed seeing and hearing what everyone was working on. I have kept in touch with the artists that I met, and getting to know them was definitely a highlight of the residency for me.


What can you share about your creative process during your residency? What ideas were you exploring? How did your work change during the residency?

close up bloomBefore arriving in Chapala, I had planned to work on a weaving project during my residency since I knew I would have access to a loom. After taking several walks around the neighborhoods of Chapala, I realized that I wanted to respond to the vibrant color and light of the location. There was a shop on my street that sold fabric flowers, and every time I passed by, I stopped to admire the wall of striking colors. I started buying some of the flowers and soon, despite my extremely limited Spanish, I made friends with Dora, the owner of the shop and her husband Luis. They were so kind and welcoming and we shared many funny moments! At home, I would never be drawn to working with artificial flowers, but in the context of Chapala and the space where I was working, it made perfect sense. Coming from Boston, sitting in the sun and working with color in the middle of winter felt very therapeutic for me as well.  I was also very inspired by the layout of the house where I was staying. On the second floor there was a room that was essentially four walls, but without a ceiling. There was a ladder where I could climb up to a higher part of the roof and look down on this space while also overlooking the city of Chapala. I really liked the idea of creating a site- specific installation in this space.

You have been to other artist residencies. What was special about your time at 360 Xochi Quetzal? What were some of the highlights of the residency? What was hard or challenging?

close upI loved having the opportunity to create my art while also experiencing a different culture and exploring a new place. Working in my studio, I would get into my own headspace, but the second I walked out the door I was immersed in another world. The whole experience was very inspiring and stimulating. Also, Cobra and Christian are so generous and hospitable. I really enjoyed getting to know them as well as the other artists.

Jenine, you are preparing for a solo show at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. What else are you working on?

leaves1I’m really excited about my upcoming solo exhibition at the Hampden Gallery at UMass Amherst in the Spring of 2017. It will be my first solo-show since graduate school, and I look forward to pulling together many of the concepts and materials I have been exploring over the past several years. After living in Boston for ten years, I am getting ready to relocate! Beginning in September 2016, I will be the Fibers Artist-in- Residence for a year at the Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee.

Where can we read about and see more of your work?

This summer, I will have a piece on view at Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn, and in September, I will have several pieces from the Leaf series on exhibition at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, MA. Also, in October I will have a piece in the Miniartextil 2016 exhibition in Como, Italy.

You can see the projects that I worked on during the 360 Xochi Quetzal residency on my website at: and


Everyone comes to the residency for different reasons. For me it was a
time to reflect upon this whirlwind year. Like many, I lead a hectic life
and run from one exhibition to the next with little time for
contemplation. Even if I hadn’t made a single thing during my residency,
I would have been satisfied because what I really needed was to slow
down and think about what direction my work might take. I reveled in
the environment – the lake and mountains – as well as two trips, one to
see the Monarch butterflies and the other to a fiesta in an indigenous
village with my fellow artists. I left the residency refreshed, with new friends and purpose!

Jennifer Angus, Installation Artist
“Applying for the free Winter residency of Xochi Quetzal was the start of many positive transformations. The silence I found for myself during the residency, allowed me not only to write the best last chapter I can write at this stage of my evolution, it also granted me a most sought-after introspection moment during which I read my dreams and studied ancient Eastern writings. The serenity of the lake and presence of other artists inspired me to get mentally ready and organized for my future as a novelist. I am particularly fond of spending the holidays abroad with ‘strangers’. It always infuses me with these wild insights and whims. Our group was just lovely, the artists one by one very interesting. Cobra and Christian are warm and graceful hosts who made life easy. All in all, Xochi Quetzal was a weighty meditation, a poetic experience that carried me through the rest of Mexico in newness and will resonate long after.”
Heidi Souffriau, Writer
“I was partly inspired to apply for the Xochi Quetzal residency by The Retro Cocktail Hour — a popular Saturday night radio show on Kansas Public Radio 91.5 that features exotica music (a form of tropical jazz).  My hope was for the palm trees,  lakeside sunrises, and culture of Chapala & Mexico at large to inform my creative process.  These elements did precisely that, and the generous hospitality of Cobra & her partner Christian provided me with a cozy composing environment.”
Note from Staff: Listen to the music created during Andrew’s residency -Winter 2016
Andrew Morgan, Composer, Musician

Chapala is a safe, spiritually charged, beautiful place. Wild horses run through town.  It’s a place where you greet strangers on the street.

I walked along the lake in meditation a great deal. I hiked the looming cerro overlooking town. I biked all over the countryside. I wrote, documented, created composed soundscapes utilizing field recordings, and built small maquette light sculptures based on my experiences. I attended traditional temazcals, and sat alone in cathedrals.

It was pivotal for me in a spiritual sense more than a career advancing experience. I’m very grateful for it, and Deborah Kruger is a wonderful advocate to keep in contact with. I truly recommend the residency.

Justin R. Lytle, Sound Artist & Sculptor

My residency at 360 Xochi Quetzal in summer 2015 was both restorative and productive.  I was inspired by the beautiful studio and the surrounding Chapala  / Jalisco region.  The setting worked well for me in terms of inspiring and completing new work, and learning the history and customs of the area.  The flexible residency requirements allowed an easy engagement with other residents, and encouraged me to participate in Chapala and Guadalajara communities.  There are many contemporary art venues in Guadalajara, which are an easy bus ride from Chapala.

Michael Pribich, Sculptor

“Not only was this residency situated in one of the most beautifully mystical, culturally resonant, and stimulating settings imaginable, it also managed to be both peaceful and galvanizing: the perfect combination for immersing oneself in a creative project without hesitation or distraction. Deborah and Christian’s home was an oasis. One of my fellow residents remarked to me that “this place has amazing energy for getting work done,” and I wholeheartedly agree: the atmosphere seemed to hum with a low-key, generative productivity, one that helped me get closer than I’d been in many months to actually fully realizing and finishing a long story. I wish I was still there among the bougainvillea, the jade vines, the dogs and the pelicans.”

Suzanne K. Rivecca, Author

Chapala has become my home away from home. The Xochi Quetztal residency is run efficiently. Cobra and her team are friendly, accessible, and professional. My stay in Chapala is enhanced by the personal relationships I have developed with several of the team members. The casita I stay in is very well maintained and fully equipped. The studio area is large and ready for me to engage in art as soon as I arrive.  The weather is always fantastic. The lake, the town(s), the life, the restaurants, the view, the very friendly local people all call me back again and again. I love it!

Zahava Sherez, Sculptor

“This was the most work I’ve ever done in a single month in my life. I will never forget what an incredible experience this was and I thank you for honoring me with a residency at 360 Xochi Quetzal. The reference material I gathered throughout the trip to Chapala, Mexico is going to fuel my work for years to come. Thank you for everything! You run an incredible residency program!!!”

Santiago Galeas, Painter