The boundary between our physiology and psychology is blurry and fragile at best. We are aware of the power our minds can hold over our bodies through placebo effects, psychosomatic disorders and monumental athletic achievements made possible by the exertion of sheer will. We also know that the physiology of our brains can have dramatic effects on our mood, impulses, memories and cognitive prowess. Yet, even with modern day’s impressive level of medical advancement, there is still tremendous mystery surrounding our understanding of where our body ends and our “self” begins. I am particularly interested in how this knowledge, or lack thereof, impacts our ability and desire to control our surroundings and selves.
My current body of work, “Wonder and Weight,” simultaneously considers the awe inspired by this complex physiology and the burden it imposes upon us. I am using very direct imagery of pulse rates and brain scans coupled with sculptures comprised of interwoven organs, nerves and drips that together create an unusual landscape that is both recognizable and unsettling. These works explore how we respond to stress in our lives, whether they stem from internal or external forces. There is tension between the dark mass, symbolizing the “dark cloud” or “weight” that we carry around, and the figurative elements, which are under strain, sometimes collapsing but ultimately persevering. This resilience is important, recognizing that what may initially be a burden, ultimately makes us stronger.
Within this body of work is the more optimistic series, “Flicker and Spark,” which was directly inspired by images of my own, and my son’s, heart rates. I find these images both haunting and beautiful as such a delicate flicker can contain such a strong indicator of life. I am intrigued by the visual similarity between our own natural rhythms and the ones we see in landscape – pulse rates when stretched become mountains and lightning bolts while brain waves mimic the ebb and flow of water and sky. This visual overlap strips away notions that we exist outside of our surroundings and is a reminder of our interconnectedness with the larger universe.
Sasha Koozel Reibstein was born in Boston, MA and spent the majority of her early years living in Philadelphia, PA. She received her MFA in Sculpture from Massachusetts College of Art in 2005 and her BFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in Ceramics and Painting in 2000.
She is currently a Professor of Art and Head of the Ceramics Program at Palomar College in San Marcos, CA. Sasha’s artwork is both confrontational and elegant, questioning our relationship with the physical world, from the environment in which we live to our own bodies.
In recent years, Sasha has traveled extensively, working and exhibiting in China, Denmark, Hungary and Germany. During these residencies abroad and working in her home studio, she has created sculptural works and installations that have been featured in over 50 national and international exhibitions including a solo exhibition in Berlin entitled, “New World.” In 2008, she won the National Council for the Education of Ceramic Artist’s Award for International Resident Artist. Sasha is also part of a collaborative team called The Jonestein Thought Factory, which produced a permanent public art installation, “Oak Idyll” at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve in Escondido, CA. Since 2010, her curation and work has been highlighted at numerous venues including the Mutter Museum, the International Mingei Museum, ART San Diego, White Box Contemporary, the California Center for the Arts, Escondidio Museum, the American Museum of Ceramic Art, The Attelboro Museum and the Morris Graves Museum. She currently resides in La Mesa, CA where she shares a home and studio with her husband, Jones and their son, Grayson.