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Shebesta, Misha

oil painting
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2135 S. Halsted St.
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Website: Misha's website

Misha Shebesta spent her early childhood during the Vietnam War years on army bases, traveling from state to state and witnessing the chaos and social conflict of the time. In the early 70's she moved to Milwaukee to live with her Czechoslovak grandparents. They lived in a predominantly African American neighborhood. While racial tension troubled most urban areas of the city, Ms. Shebesta assisted her grandparents in promoting multi-culturalism and tolerance. Her education began in the sciences; sociology, theology and anatomy and physiology. Misha worked in the medical field as a surgical assistant and also as a medical illustrator for many years before returning to school to study art. Her art work is a personal thesis for her studies and life experiences.

Ms. Shebesta has seen people deal with every stage of crisis. Her work deals with how individuals (primarily women) processes or internalize the negative influences with which they are confronted. Society judgeâ€"s survivors of crisis, and survivors often judge themselves even harder. Survivors of house fires or floods are heroes, while survivors of unpopular wars or sex crimes are silenced and even criticized. These internal and external voices have profound effects on our development and how one learns to interact with the world.

In Ms. Shebesta's early travels, each new city, township or small neighborhood brought with it a new perspective that continued to redefine and expand her views of other people, the world and her place in it. Later in life she went on to complete over five years of college, studying Theology, Sociology, Anatomy/Physiology (Loyola University, Chicago) and Fine Art (The School of the Art Institute, Chicago). Continuing the path of personal discovery she has traveled extensively throughout North and South Americas, as well as Europe. Her adventures through diverse landscapes and different cultures have had a profound impact on her world view and the development of her unique artistic style.

Through painting she has been able to pull together a diverse educational background with an adventurous enthusiasm for life. Weaving classical technique, color theory and composition with primitive figurative archetypes, Ms. Shebesta tries to elicit specific psychological and emotion responses from her viewers by playing with and pushing their views of the body, sex, and related issues. Her focus has always been on the female figure--how and why its perception and position in society has continued to change throughout history.

Misha has been showing and lecturing for the last 10 years and
is the founder of the national nonprofit art project "Ink Blot Project" a winner of the 2004 CAPP grant award.
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