On September 5th, 2015, we had a surprise visit from the Israeli artist Tsipi Shaish, who exhibited with Agora Gallery in 2011. Tsipi was visiting family in Toronto when she decided to visit New York City and catch up with her old friends at Agora Gallery.
Earlier this year, Shaish was featured in Nautilus Magazine in The Most Dangerous Muse, an article about the link between artistic creativity and Parkinson’s Disease, which Shaish was diagnosed with in 2006. Indeed, it was around this time that she started her artistic career, never before experiencing any urges or artistic inclinations.
When she picks up her brush, Shaish says, she doesn’t know where she’s going. She recounts a winter’s night in 2007. One year after her Parkinson’s diagnosis, her husband was diagnosed with cancer, and had to stay in the hospital for rounds of chemotherapy. On her husband’s first night in the hospital, Shaish came home to a dark and empty house—her kids were grown and gone, so she was alone. She took up a big blank canvas and started reaching for the paints. She mixed dark colors: blacks, browns, purples, greens. She painted without a plan or an image in her head. “But when I finished and I sat down and looked at the painting, I knew exactly what it meant to me,” she says. – Nautilus Magazine, January 2015
Today, Shaish is pursuing several avenues of artistic expression. She is experimenting with new styles, both in painting and in digital art. She has even recently written and illustrated a book, The Tenacious Turtle From Raspberry Street – which she illustrated entirely using Microsoft Paint!
Shaish has been receiving a great deal of attention, with a library exhibition of her book, and having her 6.5-foot painting “Future” featured in the opera hall in Tel Aviv.
It was great catching up with Tsipi Shaish four years after her exhibition. We love hearing about Agora Artists’ continuing successes!
Tsipi Shaish’s large-scale paintings are made through an intuitive process incorporating acrylic, pastel, and charcoal, as well as the occasional adoption of emulsion or collage techniques. Wielding a bold artillery of color, Shaish’s primary mainstays and fuzzy pastels converse with gleeful pandemonium. Partially obscured figures emerge like colorful masks or engaging caricatures of Israeli cultural life. Abstracted figures, cloaks, coats and other transformed subjects mingle with rich streaks of color and shards of sporadic patterning.
Some of Shaish’s works function like landscapes, dotted here and there with hazy figures, oblong doorways and startlingly totemic symbolism. Based in a kaleidoscopic terrain where objective borders slip and tilt together, these works collapse boundaries and power the imagination through strange and unfamiliar waters.
Tsipi Shaish was born in 1955 in Tel Aviv, Israel and currently lives and works in the city of Yavne. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2006, and at the same time discovered her artistic abilities, through which she expresses her optimism and determination and which have come to play a significant role in her identity and life.