Shoshanah Dubiner wants to surprise you

"I'm just passionate about painting," said Ashland artist and painting instructor Shoshanna Dubiner. "Right now I'm into two aspects of art. The first is the creative process through working with spontaneous painting. This is creating for the process, not the product. It really allows for us to deepen the creative process by breaking away from theories and more intellectual aspects of art. The second is looking to science. Using illustrations, photographs, microscopic captures to go to nature, but beyond what one can see with the unaided eye."

Dubiner has merged her two unique passions into a vibrant medley of expression and exploration. "I took a class in cellular Biology, which I see as really being an extension of looking at nature. I'm very interested in trying to converge my love of nature and the creative process in my work." Many of her paintings are spontaneous and flooded with near-neon explosions of cell frames, pods, humans painted from the inside-out, animals both real and imagined and cornucopias of symbolism. "For me, painting now is full of wonderful surprises," said Dubiner.

Having already generated quite a local portfolio, Dubiner is quite prolific. She has done production posters for the Oregon Stageworks and commissions for Pangaea restaurant. Her love of science has also garnered her laudation from surprising academic sources.

"Some biologists form Southern Oregon University came to my studio and loved the images. They recognized some of the patterns. Now some of my giclee prints are hanging in the biology campus on the SOU campus," said Dubiner. "Next summer, I plan to go to Hawaii and be on a panel for the American Association of Advancement of Science's Pacific Division conference on the Convergence of Humanities and Science: Understanding the World through Science." Dubiner also teaches classes on her passion of Improv painting, the style which galvanized her own evolution and an experience which she wishes to share with others.

Dubiner took a very bohemian route to find herself in Ashland. A San Francisco native and former Berkley and Harvard student, Dubiner traveled the world in pursuit of art.

"I grew up in the Bay Area during the Beat era. It was a cauldron of progressive artists and multi-ethnic cultures," Dubiner said. "It was a marvelous experience, which I'll be forever grateful to my parents for the experience."

Traveling from Rome to Yugoslavia to Ireland to New Orleans as a costume mistress for Italian cinema, Dubiner worked with Enrico Sabbatini and Giulio Coltellacci.

She has mental suitcases of stories of these experiences, from watching Slavic convicts make ceramic vases to costuming Charles Bronson and Jill Ireland. "If I hadn't worked in movies, I'd never have seen some of these places," said Dubiner. "Those were great years. I had a wonderful time. But I had trouble getting a work permit in Italy, and honestly couldn't see myself there for my whole life anyway."

Returning stateside, Dubiner revisited her love of science laterally, working as gallery director for science museums while commencing with her painting. Still, while enjoying a directly technical path of painting, she found herself stagnating.

"At a certain point, I just did studies of nature and translated it pretty directly," said Dubiner. "I had to let myself paint an ugly painting, a wild painting, etc."

She cites her breakthrough as stemming from studying creative expression at the Barbara Kaufman center for four years in San Francisco. Since coming to Ashland three years ago, finding married bliss and a great art studio, Dubiner wants to give back to Dionysius through her tutelage.

"You can still be surprised," said Dubiner with assurance. "It's not that most people don't want to paint, they were just told that they can't do it. I'm trying to give the people of Ashland the same sort of experience that I had. The biggest challenge as a teacher is to try and help them discover what wants to come out on paper and give them permission to do so."

Dubiner points out that many people have allowed their latent artistic skills to atrophy over the years due to lack of support or encouragement in such areas at early ages.

"There's a part of them that just really wants to paint. And, even for a professional, it's just a great way to loosen up. Professional artists can still get stuck," she said. "I don't see the finished product in my mind when I start painting anymore. If I knew what I was going to be painting, why bother?"

For more information on Shoshanah Dubiner, her weekly classes or her upcoming presentations, call 541-292-4284 or email her at

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