Nadia Stieglitz is a French-born ceramicist based in Charleston, South Carolina, specializing in organic abstract sculpture. With training in painting, photography, and graphic design, ceramic work was a 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 May 2021, she became a full-time resident at The Studio Union in North Charleston. She was invited by The Bibelot Home to show her sculptural work in her first public exhibit at Charleston’s Dewberry Hotel, and was one of three artists exhibiting at a private home in Mount Pleasant, SC. She trained for one week with English artists James Oughtibrige and Rebecca Appleby at The Studio Lounge, Holmfirth, UK.
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. In February 2022, photos of five of her pieces were featured in the magazine Art Seen, from the Curator's Salon and she was among the residents of Studio Union who showed their art work at REDUX, a contemporary art center in Charleston. Nadia was selected as an “Emerging Artist” at Artisphere, an annual art festival in Greenville, SC in May 2022 and accepted at Artsfield, an annual art competition, in Lake City, in April 2022. In Charleston, her work is now in view at the gallery of the Vendue Hotel and at The George Gallery.
Nadia’s work is rooted in hand building. Using slabs and coils, her technique starts by shaping her sculptures with rocks, custom-made clay forms and balloons, using found objects to guide the construction and support the structure of the pieces. With mostly simple slip for decoration, she creates an earthy feel to each object that complements their shape. Nadia enjoys a more spontaneous and intuitive building process, not knowing what she wants to create upfront. By allowing her work to be guided by inspiration as it comes, each piece is unique.
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.