Froelick Gallery proudly introduces the west coast debut of Aithan Shapira. A young but already prolific artist, Shapira’s large scale paintings and prints draw on a rich personal iconography that incorporates shapes and patterns remembered from his father’s fabric cutting shop as well as what he terms contemporary Jewish & Israeli symbols- an intriguing collection that includes a life preserver, an animal trap, eggs, ladders with uneven rungs and botanical references. Denoting tribulation and survival, preservation and tenacity, these elements are the foundations on which his sprawling, graphic compositions are based.
In conducting Ph.D. research at Sydney College of the Arts, Shapira spent three years living and painting with an aboriginal community in Australia’s Northern Territory. While there he was strongly influenced by traditions such as connection to the land and art making as everyday practice. He also learned techniques for hand-mulling natural pigments to make his own paint, and for charring wood into charcoal; he has adapted this to his own canvases by incorporating earth and fallen olive branches collected in Israel, the country from which his parents emigrated to the United States. A confluence of personal experiences, cultural examinations and the work of a practiced hand, Shapira’s paintings carry every indication of a masterful artist at the beginning of an exceptional career.