16 October - 4 November 2008
about the exhibition
Avital Sheffer’s work is informed by an investigation of her Middle Eastern and Jewish heritage and an ongoing engagement with the landscape, architecture, languages and wisdom of that part of the world. The territory she refers to in her work is historically loaded; few places have produced as much influence on the spread of art, language, spirituality and fewer still have produced as much conflict and dispute. Living in Australia, far from her homeland, opens for Avital a perspective from which she investigates and re-evaluates this complex heritage. Ancient ceramics, glass, metalware and calligraphy are a well of inspiration. While employing universal aesthetic principles, they reveal intimate aspects of human idiosyncrasies that are relevant to the present. Avital is interested in the frayed edges of religions and mythologies, where dialogue and cross-fertilization with other cultures takes place. Personal experiences of conflict, migration, dislocation and renewal intersect with the disparities between tradition and modernity. Avital’s ceramic forms are constructed with coil, slab and mould, multiple fired with applications of slips, glazes, terra sigilattas and prints.
Avital 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. She received a Diploma in ceramics from Lismore TAFE College in 2003 and, since 2004, has exhibited in eight solo shows in Australia and the USA, numerous group exhibitions and international competitions, and won several awards. Her work is in the collections of the Powerhouse Museum, Manly Art Gallery & Museum and Gold Coast City Art Gallery.