10 February - 1 March 2011
about the exhibition
Avital Sheffer’s Middle Eastern and Jewish heritage continues to influence her hand-built ceramics as she investigates how the symbolic power of the female form has remained significant from prehistoric to contemporary times. Her bountiful vessels represent a state of transition between past and present by drawing on ancient visual notions of beauty and fecundity. Through the form, volume, surface and lines of the vessels Avital aims to magnify the enigmatic, rare beauty of the female form, which has been represented across different cultures and times. The mysterious unpredictability of clay compliments Avital’s exploration of the female form: “The act of making is a constant negotiation between creating a new entity and uncovering that which already exists, hidden within the folds of the material, governed by elemental principles.” Avital’s devotion to the slow production process required for each work renders her vessels with a narrative that transcends the temporal.
Avital Sheffer grew up in Israel, where she practiced fashion and textile design, building design and town planning. After migrating to Australia in 1990 and settling on the North Coast of NSW, she turned to the making of ceramics, receiving a Diploma in ceramics from Lismore TAFE College in 2003. Over the last seven years Avital has exhibited widely across Australia and the USA, and has been a finalist in numerous awards including the Blake Prize, Manning Art Prize and IV International Biennial of Ceramics in Korea. Avital’s work is represented in many collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Powerhouse Museum, Manly Art Gallery & Museum and Gold Coast City Art Gallery.