Nadia Stieglitz is a French-born ceramicist based in Charleston, South Carolina, specializing in organic abstract sculpture. With formal training in painting, photography, and graphic design, ceramic work was her first self-taught venture, which began in 2019. This journey into the three-dimensional world of clay has allowed the artist to explore her sensibility for natural textures and anthropomorphic shapes, capturing a host of intricacies at the intersection of art, nature, and the human form. Through the juxtaposition of ethereal shapes, raw textures, and complex patterns, she creates a world for viewers to enter, explore, and engage with shapes that capture the soothing nature of the feminine. In 2021 she was invited to show her sculptural work in her first public exhibit at Charleston’s Dewberry Hotel. This year, she will be a 2022 Visiting Artist at the Gibbes Museum of Art, a program that features eight artists annually whose work contributes to a new understanding of art in the American South, as well as a Summer Resident at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Newcastle, Maine.
The sculptural work of Nadia Stieglitz emphasizes the many qualities that, once combined, total the makeup of a living being in all its aesthetic, social, and cultural manifestations. Through her exploration of organic abstraction she questions the forms we associate with womanhood and, subsequently, femininity, both honoring and re-imagining a construct that often pressurizes our understanding of what “should” and “should not” be. Within her ceramic work Stieglitz marries this emphasis on external presentation with an interest in the venular—what is underneath. Recalling complex networks of veins and tributaries, the systems that feed and support the function of larger organisms, the patterns etched onto the surface of her sculptures draw attention to the life forces that often remain hidden from view, therefore celebrating their existence by placing them onto the skin instead of beneath it. These works venerate the mechanisms needed to maintain homeostasis in all living systems despite their relative invisibility, either too small, or far too vast, to be perceived without an unaided view. Within these two frameworks Stieglitz quietly underpins an essential quality of three-dimensionality: that of allowing an object to be viewed from multiple angles. This property, critical to the element of discovery through the revelation of the unknown, reinforces the thematic power of sculpture to relay human observation and understanding.