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Aviva Alter

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Birth year

Lives in

Works in

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Representing galleries

fiber, arts, mixed-media, gallery, sculpture



My work is about posing questions and statements that can be used to define human nature and experience, questions that have no certain answer. Each of us navigates through life both physically and mentally looking for meaning, some timidly some confidently with most of us swinging back and forth in the middle somewhere. Whether we know it or not most of us are on a similar journey with one certain outcome, our ultimate death. What makes us different; what makes us similar? What is it that makes one person angry and violent and the next compassionate and thoughtful. What makes us want to reach back and change our experience, or feel we have missed out entirely.

It is this journey that both interests and puzzles me, how most of us try desperately to put meaning in to life. I wonder how both action and inaction shape the world; I do not know which is better. I do know they both leave their mark and it is the making of that mark I struggle to understand.

The materials I use are familiar to me in that they have been worn by or fashioned after people I know or have known. These are people with whom I have strong attachments through love, hate and the emotions that tie us together. I use a lot of military garments and blankets when I work (life has always seemed a bit of a battle to me). Some of the military garments have been worn by people unknown to me, just giving me hints of humanity by a name tag or an area of cloth a bit worn. Many of the pieces I have used were worn by my uncle in World War ll, this was a time that stayed with him throughout his life especially at the end of his days where he went back to the time that the uniforms clothed his body and that life filled his mind.

By using military gear I have found a correlation to the larger conflicts that affect not only my small place in the world but the battles that rage between nations, tribes and religions each so desperate to make the world their own.

Recent Exhibits

Aviva Alter participated in these exhibits:

Sep, 2014 Material Matters
Union Street Gallery, Chicago Heights IL
Sep, 2011 Write Now: Artists and Letterforms
Chicago Cultural Center
Oct, 2010 No Place Like Home: Examining Changing Landscapes in Our Lives
Koehnline Museum of Art
Dec, 2008 No End in Sight
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) - Sullivan Galleries
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