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As a student of Art History at Boston University, I had a budding curiosity for contemporary art. I frequently visited the University’s galleries, and critically looked at the exhibitions – imagining myself as a curator. I wandered into the Sherman Gallery one day in April of 2010 to find Aithan Shapira’s first major solo exhibition. The paintings made a lasting impression on me, and now, five years after seeing his paintings at BU, my gallery will be exhibiting the artist’s recent work.

The exhibition, Architecture, Nature, and Light, is a selection of Aithan’s newest paintings, made from Israeli earth and ash, as well as his monochromatic concrete reliefs. Each respective piece is a statement that assembles architectural elements, nature, and the light that synthesizes them. The impasto paint of his canvases divulges objects through tangible shafts of light that simultaneously highlight and alter their forms. After close observation, the shadows of plants on architecture or the beams of light between surfaces become objects themselves. The paintings are a reminder of how profoundly light shapes our perception of the world around us. Likewise, the concrete or “hydrostone” pieces reveal light and shadow in three dimensions.

Shapira’s oeuvre combines his experiences abroad and regionally into a coherent voice. Born in the United States as a first-generation American from Israeli parents, Aithan has spent extended periods of time studying visual arts in Massachusetts, Jerusalem (Israel), Oaxaca (Mexico), London (England), and Sydney (Australia). Along with his extensive education, residencies, and awards, Aithan also voluntarily lived with an Aboriginal Australian tribe, and learned their ancestral methods of art making. Through his curiosity to learn and travel, the artist assimilated a unique aesthetic accent, which has matured into the work on view in this exhibition.

Adam Adelson
Adelson Galleries Boston