Shoshanna Ahart and Basil

Biography

Originally from Illinois, Shoshanna Ahart attended Marietta College in Ohio where she received a BA in Art/Honors in Art, with a minor in Theatre in 1984. After working as a graphic designer for several years, she moved to Washington, DC to study painting at American University and graduated in 1990 with a Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Painting. She then opened her Georgetown art studio and during her 15 year tenure as a professional artist in Washington, DC taught painting and drawing; was an invited Guest Artist-Lecturer to a number of institutions, including The National Building Museum; and worked as a freelance properties designer for several professional theatres in the metropolitan area.

In September 2003, Ms. Ahart moved to Eichstaett, Germany (approximately one hour north of Munich) and established the Ahart Atelier. She accepts commissions from both corporate and private patrons and since 2006 has been an adjunct professor at Catholic University Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, teaching Painting and Color Theory.

 

pastels

Methodology & Technique

Workingfrom direct observation has always been Ms. Ahart’s preferred method, whether working in the studio or outdoors. For more than 20 years, her favorite subject matter has been historic architecture. Known for its beautiful landscape and stunning architecture, Eichstaett provides the perfect inspiration for Shoshanna’s artwork. She seeks to capture the sense of place of a location.
“Places are like people”, says Ms. Ahart. “Each has its own unique character.”

Since moving to Germany, Ahart has become more intrigued with the landscape and nature that surrounds the architecture in her area. Now, natural plant forms often move in and around the geometric forms of the architectural settings. Sometimes, the landscape takes over and replaces the architecture as the subject entirely.
As a plein air painter, Ahart works in 4 hour blocks, returning to a site at the same time over a period of days to capture a particular light and mood. An average painting takes approximately 16 hours to complete. When weather doesn’t permit working outdoors, she sets up still life/interiors in her atelier, which are a combination of natural and man-made objects.
Color relationships and creating a sense of light within her work through color are at the core of Ms. Ahart’s art.
She never invents color, but carefully observes the color she sees in the natural world and intensifies it.

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Trained as an oil painter, Shoshanna Ahart began working with chalk pastels in 1992 on the advice of her mentor, internationally known American artist, Wayne Thiebaud. Pastel has now replaced oils as her preferred medium. Ms. Ahart uses soft pastels, primarily Schminke brand, on heavy, coarsely textured pastel paper. She thickly layers the color, often spraying between layers in order to apply addition pastel over the previous colors. When the painting is complete a final layer of fixative is applied. Over the years, she has developed a unique pastel technique, which gives her work a painterly quality.

“Often the works are mistaken for oils, but they are created with chalk pastel,” says Ahart. “I call them pastel paintings, because whatever my medium – oils, watercolors, pastel – I am painting. I was trained as a painter…it’s how I approach my work.”

 

Selected Awards & Residencies

  • 2000 & 1994 DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Artists Grant, Washington DC
  • 1998 & 1995 Oberpfaelzer Kuenstlerhaus, Artist-in-Residence, Schwandorf, Germany
  • 1997 Mecklenburgisches Kuenstlerhaus, Artist-in-Residence, Plueschow, Germany
  • 1992 - 1994 National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, CAVA Fellowship, Miami Beach FL
  • 1994 Marietta College, 1994 Outstanding Young Alumna Award, Marietta OH
  • 1992 The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Artist Residency, Sweetbriar VA
  • 1991 Vogelstein Foundation, Ludwig Vogelstein Award for Visual Arts, New York, NY
  • 1990 Vermont Studio Center, Artist Residency, Johnson, VT

exhibition

 

Selected Exhibitions

  • ache700 Art Center, Salzburg, Austria
  • Bowery Gallery, New York NY
  • d’Art Center, Norfolk, VA
  • Erector Square Gallery, New Haven CT
  • Galerie bei der Komoedie, Augsburg, Germany
  • Galerie der Sparkasse, Eichstaett, Germany
  • Gallery Plan b, Washington, DC
  • Ground Level Gallery, South Florida Art Center, Miami Beach FL
  • Herman Fine Arts Center, Marietta College, Marietta, OH
  • Oberpfaelzer Kuenstlerhaus, Schwandorf, Germany
  • Southside Gallery, Oxford, MS
  • Touchstone Gallery, Washington, DC
  • William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, Atlanta GA