Despite her fear of heights, Natasha Shoro peeked out countless airplane windows during childhood travels to destinations throughout Europe, Africa and South Asia, fascinated by the scenery below.
In her adult life, the aerial landscapes Shoro discovered as a young girl are not just memories. She has translated them into art.
"I've traveled all over, so my art is a reflection of my life experience," the 41-year-old artist said. "Both parts of landscape have always been really fascinating for me: the ocean, and now, the earth itself."
Now visitors to the Newport Beach Central Library can enjoy the view. Eight of Shoro's earth-toned, mixed-media paintings from her "Spatial Identity" collection are on exhibition there through Feb. 28.
Through drawing and painting, her work represents a confluence of the Eastern and Western facets of her life. As a child and adult, Shoro spent several years in her parents' native country of Pakistan.
There she encountered a disciplined culture but a disorderly daily life. In the United States, she found the opposite — a less regimented society, but a methodical day-to-day routine.
"Spatial Identity" reflects what Shoro sees within herself and outside in nature, she said. Her abstract works are composed of layers of paint and etchings placed spontaneously, albeit carefully onto unstretched canvases.
"Most pieces are layered images of memories from my life experiences," Shoro said. "I love jewelry, fabric and textiles, and I layer all of this in these mixed media paintings."
Kirwan Rockefeller — chair of the Newport Beach Arts Commission and director of the arts and humanities program for continuing education at UC Irvine — said the union of various influences distinguishes Shoro's paintings from other nonrepresentational, or abstract, art.
The commission sponsors the library exhibit in conjunction with Southern California Art Projects and Exhibitions, a Corona del Mar-based gallery that represents Shoro's work.
"She is exceptionally talented and has exhibited around the world," said Rockefeller, who met Shoro five years ago when she began teaching studio art with UCI's extension program. "We are so fortunate and pleased to have an artist of her caliber and quality doing a show for us."
Shoro, a mother of three, has displayed her work at solo and juried exhibitions in California; Iowa, where she earned her bachelor's degree in graphic design at Iowa State University; and Pakistan.
Recently, she became part of the Orange County Performing Arts Center's Arts Teach program, through which she will provide visual arts workshops to kindergarten through 12th-grade students in local schools.
Shoro's work is on display near the entrance to the Newport Beach Central Library. An artist reception will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 23, and the public is invited to attend. The library is at 1000 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach. For more information, go to www.newportbeachlibrary.org.