John Sherman describes his paintings as 'breakthroughs from the archetypal world'. Others have described them as 'psychologically significant' works of 'contemplative artistry'. Sherman also describes himself as a 'participatory expressionist', an artist with a self-conscious rapport with the phenomenal world. His paintings utilize texture, color and symbolism to produce works of representational expressionism. Most of his paintings are multi-layer sculptural constructions of collage, paint, acrylic and other media. The surfaces are progressively built up and frequently 'cracked' intentionally before application of the final layers. For Sherman, many of his paintings are derived from colors and materials combining into something unexpected, where complex layers of form, line and color are woven together.
Mixed Media Expressionist