Biography

text 1

Flora Series:
The format for Flora is that of a “center piece.” It echoes a long tradition of arranging a still life (bowl with fruit or floral arrangement) as a center presence on a table.  That arrangement is seemingly neutral but is actually symbolic*. When I make my floral piles, I explore the ambivalent condition of our relation with nature. As I attempt look at nature I realize it is not there for me to view. Nature as an authentic unpredictable and uninterrupted phenomenon it is not present in our world. Our “nature” is stylized and cultured. Further, nature as a cultural concept is placed in contrast to the mechanized world yet nature is in fact mechanical and predictable. Finally, nature is not neutral or objective but rather powerful and “opinionated.” Nature embodies the texture of sexuality, life and death, of power and subversion and is very similar to complex political and social phenomena.

For these reasons the form of my flowers is an invented one rather than made through observation. In Flora, the floral objects are flower-like but are not attempting to represent any specific species. The stem has a geometric hexagon core that alludes to the mechanical way of making these flowers as well as the geometry and predictability of nature as witnessed.

In the end, Flora celebrates my fascination with nature. I capture nature as something that is ambivalent and get as close as possible to presenting nature the way it is in our world today.

*Virginia Woolf uses the bowl of fruit as a metaphor for harmony in To the Lighthouse, and in the history of painting there is a long tradition of the seemingly objective/natural still life to suggest a critical view of the human condition.


Born in Israel in 1955, Shiftan studied English Literature and Philosophy (BA 1980) at the Hebrew University, Ceramics at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, (1980 -1982), Eastern Michigan University (MA 1984), and Cranbrook Academy of Art and Design, (MFA 1986). She worked at Pewabic Pottery, Detroit Michigan (1986 to 1999) as Instructor, Production Manager - Senior Designer, and Director of Education. She taught at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design (1999-2002) and is currently teaching ceramics at SUNY New Paltz since 2003, where she is head of the Ceramics Program.

Shiftan has twice received the Michigan Grant for Individual Artists and exhibited her work extensively. Shiftan has collaboratively organized: Contemporary Issues in Clay: A British Perspective, (2006) and Why Clay (2008), and organized Beyond Hand Made (2008), all symposiums examined theoretical, social, and economic trends that are the context in which creative practice in visual arts occurs today. Shiftan’s own work in clay explores the subject of ambivalence in floral and zoological imagery and the representation of nature in art.

CV

ANAT SHIFTAN
Born 1955, Israel

EDUCATION
1980    BA, English Literature and Philosophy, Hebrew University, Jerusalem,
              Israel
1984    MA, Eastern Michigan University
1986    MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art and Design, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
1986 - 1999 Senior Designer and Director of Education, Pewabic Pottery,
              Detroit, MI
1999 - 2002 Teacher, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design
2003 - Present Head of the Ceramics Program, SUNY New Paltz

SELECT EXHIBITIONS
2015    Anat Shiftan: In Nature, Thomas Hunter Project Space, New York, NY
2014    Le Jardin: The Ceramics of Anat Shiftan, Vessels Gallery, Boston, MA.
            Floral panels by Nancy Lorenz and floral porcelains by Anat Shiftan:
                 Old Westbury Gardens / Nassau County Museum, NY
2012    Tending toward the Untamed: Artists Respond to the Wild Garden,
                 Glyndor Gallery, Wave Hill, NY
            Naturally, Clay Art Center, Schacht Gallery, Saratoga, NY
            Anat Shiftan, Vessels Gallery, Boston, MA
2010    Anat Shiftan: Recent Work, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia PA
            Stilled Life, Greenwich House Pottery, New York, NY
2008    Beyond Hand Made, The Clay Studio, Philadelphia PA
            Why Clay, Greenwich House Pottery, New York, NY
            Anat Shiftan, Recent Works of Still Life, Pewabic Pottery, Detroit, MI
            5th. Israeli Biennale, Invited Artists,
2006    Contemporary Issues in Clay: A British Perspective, Greenwich House
                 Pottery, New York, NY
2005    Five Israeli and Five American Ceramic Artists, Toby Rosenberg Gallery,
                 Portland, ME
            The Third Biennale for Israeli Ceramics, Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv,
                 Israel
1986    Contemporary Ceramics, Saginaw Art Museum, Saginaw MI

FELLOWSHIPS, GRANTS, AWARDS
2011 - 2012   Research and Creative Projects Award, SUNY New Paltz
2010 - 2011   Research and Creative Projects Award, SUNY New Paltz
2009 - 2010   UUP Professional development Award, SUNY New Paltz
                      Research and Creative Projects Award, SUNY New Paltz
2008 - 2009   Research and Creative Projects Award, SUNY New Paltz
2007 - 2008   Research and Creative Projects Award, SUNY New Paltz
2006 - 2007   Research and Creative Projects Award, SUNY New Paltz
2006              UUP/SUNY, Dr. Nuala McGann Drescher Award
                      UUP Professional Development Award, SUNY New Paltz
2005 - 2006   Research and Creative Projects Award, SUNY New Paltz
2004 - 2005   Research and Creative Projects Award, SUNY New Paltz
                      UUP Professional Development Award, SUNY New Paltz
1990              Michigan Council For The Arts, Grant for Individual Artist
1988              Michigan Council For The Arts, Grant for Individual Artist
1987              Arts Foundation of Michigan Award
1986              Cranbrook Academy of Art, Tuition Grant

BOOKS AND CATALOGUES
2012     Tending Towards the Untamed, Artists Respond to the wild Garden,
                  Wave Hill, Glyndor Gallery
2011     The 1st. Kaolin Cup, China International Ceramic Art Contest
​                  and Exhibition
             Ceramics Art and Perception, Issue # 83: On Earth, pages 70 - 73
             Printers and Potters: Creative Exchange, 2nd. China Sanbao International
​                  Printmaking Exhibition, page 20
             Mercurial Objects, Schick Art Gallery, Skidmore College pages 21, 23, 28
2010     International Contemporary Ceramic Exhibition, Jingdezhen China
​                  International Fair
2009     Printers and Potters: Creative Exchange, West Meets East @ Sanbao,
​                  International Contemporary Ceramic exhibition, Jingdezhen China
​                  International Fair
2008     The Fifth Ceramics Biennale, Eretz Israel, Museum, Tel Aviv: Design, Art,
​                  Design PP. Hagai Segev.
             Angelica Pozo, 500 Tiles, An Inspiring Collection of International Works,
​                  Lark Books, New York, NY
2007     Elik Mishori, Visual Israeliness, catalogue, Exhibition in the Framework of
​                  the 23rd Annual Conference of The Association for Israel Studies,
​                  The Dorothy Rothschild Open University Campus, Raanana June -
​                  July 2007, The Open University of Israel, Dept. of Literature,
​                  Language and Arts
2006 – 2007  Knafo, David. Catalogue, Territory and Identity- Between Ceramics
​                      and Architecture, The Fourth Biennial for Israeli Ceramics, Eretz
​                      Israel, Museum, Tel Aviv: Design, Art, Design. Pages 214 - 215
2006     Pozo, Angelica. Hand Made Tiles, A Lark Ceramics Book, A Division of
​                  Sterling Publishing Co. Inc. New York, NY. Page 36
2004-2005  Cecula, Marek, The Third Biennial for Israeli Ceramics, Eretz Israel,
​                      Museum Tel Aviv: Design, Art, Design. Page 93|
2004     Walt, Irene, Sera, Grace, Monogram, Art in the Stations, The Detroit
​                  People Mover Detroit: Art in the stations. Art In The Stations.
​                  Pages 14, 15, 72

Back To Top