Shibata creates botanical installations that reflect on the relationships between humans and the natural world. Flowers and plants have a defined lifespan; they grow, bloom, fade, and decompose. She is interested in the contrast between the transience of nature and beauty and the stability and permanence of fired ceramics. Also compelling to her are the boundaries between abstraction and botanical specificity; complexity and simplicity; two and three-dimensional; happenstance and control; and light and dark. Juliane finds the space between realms to be especially poignant, indecipherable, and difficult to convey; the median strip between two clear paths is often the most contemplative and open-ended, both visually and conceptually.
The color, finish, design, and placement of individual ceramic pieces are essential in her ability to evoke quiet and introspective narratives. As she positions some sculptural pieces post-firing, she takes a more open-ended and intuitive approach when installing the components. The story behind Shibata’s work is allowed to evolve until she decides on the particular conversation the pieces share with each other.
Her sculptures and installations involve the repetition of individual ceramic components. Some works are quite large and are composed of hundreds of small porcelain elements, while others hang on the wall and are more contained. Although it takes time to create a large number of thrown or handmade items out of clay, she is attracted to the rhythm that is generated when they repeat and begin to energize the space around them.
The ceramic fruits (i.e. pears or persimmons) used in her sculptures are thrown and altered; Shibata finds that throwing lends each form a more distinct individualistic quality as opposed to those that are slipcast. All porcelain pieces are fired in a reduction atmosphere to 2345 degrees Fahrenheit in a local kiln that she loads and fires with a group of Northfield potters. When appropriate, Shibata completes the firing cycle by applying gold luster to accentuate various aspects of the work.
Juliane received her MFA in Ceramics from Bowling Green State University in 2006, having previously graduated from Carleton College with a BA in Studio Art. She has been an artist in residence at Ox-Bow, the Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee, and The Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China. Juliane has taught at Hope College in Holland, Michigan and at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. One of her pieces belongs to the permanent collection of Northern Arizona University’s Art Museum.