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Maggie Shafran Creates Art Around the Cosmos
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Friday, March 10, 2023
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Maggie Shafran grew up attending Gallery Walks, oftentimes mesmerized by the art she saw at the Ketchum art galleries.

Tonight the 31-year-old will showcase her own art during Gallery Walk as part of a solo exhibition at Gail Severn Gallery.

“I’m really, really excited,” said Shafran. “I know the gallery showcases the work of a lot of important artists so I feel very honored to be counted among them.”

Shafran spent many of her formative years in Hong Kong and Singapore where her father Steve Shafran worked for Goldman Sachs. She spent every summer and the Christmas holidays in Sun Valley, as well as three years at the Sun Valley Community School.

Her family took numerous trips around Hong Kong where she began noticing the artistic details of Buddhist temples and historic relics. And, in more recent years, she began sharing her own art at popup exhibitions in places like Hotel Ketchum.

“When I was a child, I was obsessed with drawing horses with circles. My parents were very supportive. They said, ‘Okay, we realize you’re bad at sports,’ so they gave me art classes. I took art classes at Sun Valley Center for the Arts, and I went to art camp at Idyllwild. Now my home is out Warm Springs, but I’m pursuing a master degree in fine art in London.”

In fact, Shafran just flew back to Sun Valley Wednesday night to attend her exhibition opening. She will give a free Artist’s Talk at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 11, at the gallery.

This particular body of work revolves around collecting and preserving flowers—in particular, the cosmos.

“I obsessively photograph flowers, not wanting them to go away. Eventually, I began making molds of the flowers out of silicone and alginate, which is something that’s used in dentist’s offices.”

Shafran takes the cosmos, a single-petal flower, and fills it with silicone. When it hardens, she removes the flower and makes plaster and latex casts. She utilizes them in a myriad of ways, applying various shades of paint to create very different pieces.

“In my desire to preserve them, I destroy them,” she said. “But I love to work with my hands. That’s what drives my practice.”

In addition to the works revolving around the cosmos, Shafran is displaying a pencil drawing that took her one and a half years to complete.

“I didn’t spend a whole day everyday working on it, but I did get 500 hours in,” she said.

The work was inspired by a still-life painting by a Dutch painter. Shafran created it with 110 separate 5-by-7-inch pieces that she stitched together. She saw the finished product for the first time Thursday afternoon at Gail Severn Gallery.

Shafran made it of pencil ad charcoal as a way to reveal a traditional style still-life in a new way.

“It was meditative,” she said. “There was a certain quilting aspect to it and, and since each piece was just 5-by-7 inches, it was so easy to take with me—I even took pieces to London to work on.”

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