Born in Washington, D.C., in 1952, Shelley Laffal began her art training in 1971 at the Maryland Art Institute in Baltimore.
Traveling to Sasketchewan, Canada, she studied with Canadian artist Ernest Lindner at The Emma Lake Art Community and at the California Institute of The Arts (Cal Arts), in Valencia, California, with painter Paul Brach (husband of Miriam Shapiro).
After years of roaming the back streets of Santa Fe and Key West, and living in Costa Rica, Laffal found the moody colors and emotional intensity of Latin culture infusing her work - an influence that's still evident today.
"In my current paintings I try to merge the contemporary human experience with the primitive, hidden part of us that seems headed for extinction.
"The focus of my recent body of work, from the “Drama Queen” series, is a narrative of girls in a state of tumult, or B movie with a dash of voodoo.
"I approach painting with an innate sense of balance between light and dark both literally and figuratively, but essentially the act of painting for me is story telling in techno color .
"I delight in recycling themes from my dreams in which I portray a sense of longing to connect with the visceral world , a place I can never quite belong to.
"But no mater the subject, I generally believe in the curative nature of mischief and irreverence, and when it comes to painting I try to employ it liberally whenever necessary . . . or not."
MD - 1970-71
Emma Lake Art Community (Maryland Art Institute Affiliate), Sasketchewan, Canada - 1971
California Institute Of The Arts, Valencia, CA - 1971
2002 Masters Class, Phillip Pearlstein, Corcoran Museum, Wash., DC - 2002
2009 Rosemary's Babies, Miller Gallery, Cincinnati,
2008 New Artists, A Muse Gallery, Columbus Ohio
2008 Drama Queens, Two Person Show, Zenith Gallery,Washington, DC
2007 29th Anniversary Show, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC
2006 Capital Area Food Bank Calendar Show, Zenith Gallery
2005 Food Glorious Food, Zenith Gallery
2002 Angels and Messengers, The Dennis & Phillip Ratner Museum, Bethesda MD
2001 Touchstone Gallery, 2000 All Media Juried Show, Washington, DC
2000 Tyson II Corporate Headquarters, McLean, VA
1999 Washington Square, Washington, DC
1998 Treeman-Human, 20th Anniversary Show, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC
1996 Gallery Artists, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC
1995 Figurative Show, Waxlander Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
1995 17th Anniversary Show, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC
1994 Annual Intro Show/Paintings, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC
1994 Art Across The Borders, The Art Museum Of The Americas, Washington, DC
1994 Indigo Galleries, Boca Raton, FL
1993 Christmas Show, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC
1993 Decorators' Show House, for Bloomingdales, Washington, DC
1992 Personal Adornment, Textile Arts Centre, Chicago, IL
1992 Gallery Artists, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC
1991 Secret Lives, Solo Show, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC
1991 Art About Function, Washington Square, Washington, DC
1991 Group Show, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC
1990 International Sculpture '90, Montgomery College, Rockville, MD
1990 Off The Wall, Quadrangle Developement Corp., Washington, DC
1989 3rd Annual Humor Show, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC
1989 Debut Solo Show, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC
1988 2nd Annual Humor Show, Zenith Gallery, Washington, DC
1985 Group Show, Joan Hodgell Gallery, Sarasota, FL
1984 Group Show, Joan Hodgell Gallery, Sarasota, FL
1981 Group Show II, Woman's Center, Sarasota, FL by Florida Fine Arts Council
1983 Hot Laps; Solo Show, Joan Hodgell Gallery, Sarasota, FL
1982 Tampa Bay '82, Tampa Museum, Tampa, FL
1980 Emerging Female Voice, Thomas Center Gallery, University of Florida, Gainsville, FL
1979 4 Woman Artists; Sarasota, FL; sponsored by Florida Fine Arts Council
1974 Pirates Alley Gallery, Key West FL
1973 Cabot Plaza Gallery, Taos, NM
The Howard Tullman Collection at Flashpoint
Academy, Chicago, IL
The Hechinger Collection, Washington, DC
The collection of Robert Kogad, Washington, DC
The collection of Dr. N. Green, Potomac, MD
The collection of Andria and Harvey Boyarsky-Maisel, Potomac, MD
RM Designs, Upper Marlboro, MD
Ovations, Laurel, MD
The collection of Rhonda Levitt, Coral Gables, FL
The collection of Dr. Jack Costa, Reston, VA
The collection of Prince Bendar - Ambassador of Saudia Arabia, McLean, VA
The collection of Prince Moataz Saud Abdulaziz, McLean, VA
The collection of Erwin Katz, Bethesda, MD
and many more. . . .
The Columbus Dispatch: "Portraits place women in new light," review of show at A Muse Gallery, Sunday, Nov. 9, 2008, by Kaizaad Kotwal
Montgomery County InSight: "A roadmap to life," Artists Among Us, November 2007, by Jacqueline M. Duda
"New Artists, Familiar Faces focus on Figure," by John Villani, March, Waxlander Gallery
DC Examiner, "Zenith's Dramatic Duo pairs Shelley Laffal and Chris Malone," May 31 & June 1, 2007, by Chris Kilmek, special to the Examiner