Sasha Koozel Reibstein

Sasha Koozel Reibstein is a mixed media artist living and working in San Diego. Her works are simultaenously confrontational and elegant, questioning our relationship with the physical world, from the environment in which we live to our own bodies.  

Born in Boston, MA, Reibstein spent the majority of her early years living in Philadelphia, PA. She received her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art in 2005 and her BFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2000. She is currently a Professor of Art at Palomar College in San Marcos, CA.

In recent years, Reibstein 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 70 national and international exhibitions including a solo exhibition in Berlin entitled, “New World.” Since 2010, her curation and work has been highlighted at numerous venues including the Mutter Museum, the International Mingei Museum, White Box Contemporary, Zoya Tommy Gallery, R.B. Stevenson Gallery, the California Center for the Arts, Escondidio Museum, The Clay Studio, The San Diego Art Institute, Couturier Gallery, the American Museum of Ceramic Art, The Attelboro Museum and The Morris Graves Museum. In 2016, Reibstein was nominated for the Art Prize in her home city, San Diego, CA, where she shares a home and studio with her husband and fellow artist, Jones von Jonestein, and their son, Grayson.

I am interested in fluidity; of emotion and reason, memory and reality. I want to question the boundaries of our understanding of ourselves and the world around us by creating unusual forms that are simultaneously recognizable and enigmatic, evoking equal parts curiosity and unease. I often play with balance and fragility in these forms, allowing them to appear to either be on the brink of collapse or mid-awakening. These works serve as Rorschachs, inviting the viewer to project their own perceptions and experiences onto the work, informing their interpretation.

In these works I am pulling in from a wide range of materials and references. My recent incorporation of floral and decorative elements references the vanitas tradition, with an exploration of mortality and the fluidity of our ephemeral life cycle. As in the memento mori tradition, there are unsettling moments as well, captured through the incorporation of raw, sculpted organs which carry with them both symbolic weight as well as the power of discomfort. I have an uneasy relationship with beauty and instead often turn towards the discord created when attraction collides with the grotesque, creating an intriguing and challenging tension.

I also often play with unexpected materials, creating rock formations sometimes out of foam and concrete and others through growing real crystals directly onto ceramic sculptural armatures. This experimentation is playful and encourages my interest in exploring the unknown, balancing expectation with mystery and reality with fantasy.

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