Avital Sheffer is a ceramic artist based on the North-Coast of NSW, Australia.
She creates generous ceramic vessel forms, strong in presence and refined in detail. From her native country of Israel she brings a deep engagement with multi- faceted Middle–Eastern cultures, history and design - complexities and dilemmas she explores in her work.
She has developed a unique aesthetic language – at once intimate and universal. While speaking of ancient civilizations, the diosyncratic forms and intricate surfaces of the vessels ground her work firmly in the contemporary.
Sheffer employs hand-forming techniques along with a unique printing practice to which she brings her life experience in working with other mediums.
Her forms are contained and voluptuous, architectural and anthropomorphic, layered with details and meaning. Since 2004 Avital had been exhibiting extensively in Australia and the US. She was a finalist in numerous competitions and won several awards including the Josephine Ulrich prize for excellence at the Gold Coast international Ceramic Award in 2005 and The Border Art Prize in 2008 as well as two Australia Council Grants for New Work. Her work is represented in public collections including the National Gallery of Australia, the Sydney Powerhouse, Manly Art gallery & Museum and the Gold Coast City Art gallery, as well as corporate and private collections.
Avital Sheffer is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics.
My work is informed by an investigation of my Middle Eastern and Jewish heritage and an ongoing engagement with the landscape, architecture, languages and wisdom of that part of the world, and that way of being in the world. The world of antiquity, in its diversities and dichotomies, is a passion and an infinite source of inspiration. Ancient ceramics, glass, metal ware and calligraphy employ universal aesthetic principals yet reveal intimate aspects of human idiosyncrasies and needs that are relevant to the present.
Living in Australia, absorbing influences of landscape and light offers a unique perspective from which I revaluate my complex heritage. I am interested in the frayed edges of mythologies and language, where dialogue and cross-fertilization between cultures takes place. Personal experiences of conflict, migration, dislocation and renewal intersect with the dilemmas between traditions and modernity.