about

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Shoshanah Dubiner is an "almost native" San Francisco artist and designer whose creativity has found expression in a wide range of disciplines. The daughter of middle-class Russian Jewish immigrants in Cleveland, Shoshanah grew up in a home filled with music and art books and began drawing and painting before kindergarten. Her parents encouraged her artistic talents, driving her every Saturday morning to free, public art classes at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The family moved to San Francisco in 1955 (the beginning of the Beat Era). Soon after she met Jane Kastner, an artist and Curator of Education at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, who invited her to join the (again free) Saturday adult painting classes at the Legion and who became Shoshanah's mentor and life-long friend. During high school Shoshanah became close to the family of Herb Blau and Beatrice Manley, founders of the experimental Actors' Workshop theater company, and spent many after-school hours painting scenery, making costumes, and acting as wardrobe mistress for various avant-garde plays.

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Although Shoshanah studied drawing and painting throughout high school and college, family pressures to become an academic resulted in her receiving a B.A. from UC Berkeley and a M.A. from Harvard University, both in Comparative Literature. She soon followed her passion for the visual and performing arts by going to Brandeis University's Theatre Department and earning an M.F.A. in Theater Design. She then moved to Rome, Italy, and worked as a costume designer for the Italian stage and cinema from 1968-1971. In Italy, she became active in the women's movement and began to develop her life-long interest in women's issues.

Returning to the United States in 1972, Shoshanah established a successful career as a graphic designer, museum exhibition designer, illustrator, and animator, working for the California Academy of Sciences, The Burdick Group, and West Office Designs in San Francisco, and the design studios of Deborah Sussman and Howard Lathrop in Los Angeles, until she started her own computer graphics design firm, The Interactive Muse. In 1983, she designed an interactive videodisc program about symmetry in art and nature, and thus began her 27-year-long study of patterns in nature — spirals, waves, branchings, spheres, and fractals — which resulted in numerous drawings and paintings as well as slide lectures that she presented to groups of students, artists, scientists, and the general public.

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In 1994, Shoshanah moved to the Sierra foothills. There, she taught handwork and art in a Waldorf school, began a Buddhist meditation practice, and discovered "process painting" as described in the book Life, Paint and Passion: Reclaiming the Magic of Spontaneous Expression, by Michelle Cassou and Stewart Cubley. Process painting — painting simply to experience the creative process, the essential life force, not to produce a final product that must be explained, analyzed, evaluated — was a totally revolutionary and exhilarating practice to her. After returning to San Francisco in 2000, she continued to paint at the Center for Creative Expression, developing her unique intuitive mode of expression.

She moved to Ashland, Oregon, in 2004, and lives with her husband, writer and book creation coach, Craig K. Comstock. A university course in cell biology in 2007 inspired a whole new series of works based on the world seen through the microscope. She maintains a studio in Ashland  where she paints and exhibits, and occasionally teaches Improv Painting. 


exhibitions

2012 "Celebrating a Life of Science: In Memory of Lynn Margulis", University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA. 

2012 "Matter Gone Wild", Thorndike Gallery, Center for the Visual Arts, Souther Oregon University, Ashland, OR.

2011 "Second Annual Artist Books", Illahe Studios and Gallery, Ashland, OR.

2010 "Inspired by Science", Schneider Museum of Art in collaboration with the AAAS-Pacific Division, Ashland, OR. 

2010 "Mythical State of Jefferson", Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland, OR.

2010 "Water Precious Water", Hilltop Art Gallery, Ashland, OR.

2009 "Shifting Patters: Preparing for Unsettled Days", Jefferson Nature Center, Medford, OR.

2007 "Dancing Clay", Illahe Studios and Gallery, Ashland, OR.

2006 "Joy of Movement", Pangea, Ashland, OR.

2006 "Dancing Scissors", Pangea, Ashland, OR.

2005 "Miracle of Connecting", Gallery DeForest, Ashland, OR.

2004 "Awe to Action", Council on Spiritual Practices, San Francisco, CA.

2003 "Infinite Worlds Within," solo exhibition, Canessa Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

lectures

2010 "Does Art Matter? Certainly You're Joking, Ms. Dubiner.", Annual conference of the AAAS-Pacific Division, Ashland, OR.

2008 "Art and Science: A Happy Symbiosis", Annual conference of the AAAS-Pacific Division, Hawaii.

2007 "Improv Painting for Self-Discovery and Joy", Rogue Valley Metaphysical Library, Ashland, OR.

VIDEO INTERVIEWS

2012 "Patterns in Nature", an interview with host Craig K. Comstock on "Like, Wow!", RVTV Community access television.  Shoshanah describes and illustrates the inspiration she gets by closely examining natural patterns at many scales. Based on a course she gave at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Ashland, Oregon, in 2011 and 2012.

2011 "Matter Gone Wild",  an interview with host Craig K. Comstock on "Like, Wow!", RVTV Community access television.  Shoshanah talks about her art inspired by biology,  with lavish illustration of her visionary paintings, based on talks she was invited to give at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Pacific Division in 2008.

publications/reviews

2010 "When Science Dances", Craig K. Comstock, "The Huffington Post", online slideshow