Born in America to Israeli parents, Aithan Shapira has always been exposed to multiple perspectives—both inherited and lived—the presence of which permeates his paintings, prints, and concrete constructions.His subject matter spans more than a decade across three continents tackling conflicting fields of view, whether simultaneously addressing two sides of a wall or matters of migration or of false hope.
His works are characterized by their layers of contradictions, some more overt in material and form such as concrete and soap life preservers, and others more subtle as inverting depths of field or his attention to light as a solid often blocking other objects from view and an expansive palette of yellows ranging from desert to golden sun, honey, urine and bile that he makes symbolically from scratch mixing pigments from earth, ash, and limestone. Just as the tone in which something is said can alter its meaning, Aithan weaves shape and pattern into tightly composed poetic representations that ask us to consider the malleability in which the same object can take on vastly different meanings. Critic Cate McQuaid of the Boston Globe writes, "Every line, every shading seems deliberate and felicitous, as discerning about what beauty comprises." (2015). Prevalent themes in Aithan’s work: migration, place-making, way-finding.
"My work is not about me; it is a mirror of us, and it does not show what we are but reflects what we can become.” -Shapira
In 2012, he gave a TEDx talk entitled We Are All Cubists, in which he explored multiple perspectives and the way we view both history and the present. Aithan currently lives with his wife and daughter in Boston, MA, where he has a studio. He teaches at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and gives an intensive drawing course at MIT.
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