ANAT SHIFTAN (Israeli – American, b.1955)
Flora with Rectangular Base, 2020
Anat Shiftan (Israeli, b. 1955) is a ceramic artist based in New York. She uses artistic and decorative motifs found throughout western art history (floral centerpieces, arranged still life vignettes) to explore her relationship to nature both as a human-being and as an artist. In her own words, “When I make my floral piles, I explore the ambivalent condition of our relation with nature. As I attempt to look at nature I realize it is not there for me to view. Nature as an authentic, unpredictable, and uninterrupted phenomenon 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.”
Shiftan is the head of the ceramics department at SUNY New Paltz where she has held a teaching position since 2003.