March 13-April 25
Opening reception March 13, 5-7 p.m.
This compelling exhibit, the first of its kind in the region, sheds light on the experience of living and working in Israel through the eyes of emerging and established Israeli artists.
(Sarasota, FL) Art Center Sarasota’s third exhibition cycle for its 2013-2014 season includes “Confluence: Israel,” a group exhibition showcasing works by emerging and established Israeli artists. This exhibit opens March 13, 2014, and runs through April 25, 2014. “Confluence: Israel” runs concurrently with three other exhibits: The Secret Life of Jewelry,” featuring fine art jewelry; “MASHterpieces,” showcasing repurposed, donated artwork in collaboration with Goodwill Manasota and ThisWeekinSarasota.com; and “One World,” an open, all-media, juried exhibition. The opening reception for all of the exhibits is March 13, 5-7 p.m. Art Center Sarasota is located at 707 N. Tamiami Trail. For more information, call 941-365-2032 or visit www.artsarasota.org.
“Confluence: Israel” features works by emerging and mid-career Israeli artists. According to Lisa Berger, the center’s executive director, this exhibition evolved from a partnership with The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee.
“It will be the first exhibition of its kind in our area,” Berger says. “The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee has wanted to produce an exhibition of art by artists living and working in Israel for a long time. We’re thrilled to help make it happen.” She explains that her team worked closely with Shosh Dagan, a prominent Israeli curator, to showcase the up-and-coming generation of innovative Israeli artists working in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, woodwork, video, jewelry and embroidery. “The media often depicts Israel through the lens of conflict—but there’s far more to it than that,” notes Berger. “This exhibit offers a close-up look at the innovative, cutting-edge work that Israeli artists are producing today.” She adds that one of the artists, Ohad Zlotnick, celebrated for his three-dimensional, metal sculptures of Hebrew letterforms, will come to Sarasota and give an artist’s talk on Friday, March 14, at 2 p.m.
The artists in this exhibition include Ohad Zlotnick, Aviv Gad Keller, Boris Nekrasov, Sara Shuraki Zisken, Eyal Fried, Yonatan Zofy, Joseph Dadoune, Samantha Adler de Olivera, Ravit Gat, and Iddo Markus.
Ohad Zlotnick, who will be traveling to Sarasota for the exhibition, translates 2D forms into 3D objects that interact with the viewer’s observation point. His work, “PARALLAX,” comprises 22 origami like sculptural elements made from laser-cut steel folded to form the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. According to the artist, “These forms represent a new kind of typography in three-dimensional space.” For this exhibit, Zlotnick will construct the entire Hebrew alphabet in cardboard 3D shapes and will also exhibit four colored steel sculptures of letters.
Aviv Gad Keller describes his embroidered canvases as, “a personal language that I’ve developed in my search for new means of expression. I regard it as a form of painting and use the knowledge and tools of a realistic painter to create it.” To create his art, Keller begins with photographs of Israeli urban and rural landscapes, which he transfers onto canvas through a meticulous drawing technique. Once the image is laid out, his embroidery begins. “While I try to stick with the original image, I also take it into a new, more liberated expressive realm,” Keller says. He adds that, “The resulting work is detached from conventional art medium and genre contexts. It’s a hybrid of past techniques and contemporary realistic painting that hints of a style of the future.”
Boris Nekrasov is a painter and multimedia artist. His fragmented art reflects his fragmented experience. The artist was born in Moscow in 1985 and moved to Israel at the age of five. He says that, “I translate my childhood memories into art through the themes of movement and breaking.” To achieve this translation, the artist often creates his mixed-media piece from found materials. “I tend to experiment rather than pursue a fixed intention,” he says. “By taking the material away from its original setting, the work transforms and tackles time.”
Sara Shuraki Zisken’s works in clay reveal the inspiration of Hebrew letterforms and offer a meditation on humanity’s uneasy relationship to the physical world. “Clay is of the earth,” she says. “It’s the rawest and most basic material into which the artist breathes the spirit of creation.” Zisken adds that, “The Hebrew word for man/human is adam, and for earth is adama. We come from the earth and must return to the earth. But human beings, like all of creation, are combinations of the material and the spiritual. We are of the earth, but are also emanating from a higher, heavenly place.” How does Zisken reconcile this duality? “I don’t but I try,” she says. “The search for the unity of creation is the driving force behind the innovations of art.”
Photographer Eyal Fried says his camera provides, “an entry permit to the depths of daily life.” With that permit firmly in hand, the artist traverses Israel photographing “leisure behaviors” primarily of Russian immigrants in remote areas. According to Fried, “I shoot whatever forces itself on me in any given encounter—recording the gestures, the postures, the relationships between people and their environment, and all the casual accidents in the scene. I don’t judge, I don’t conceptualize, I don’t plan. I am only a receiver. I capture each moment just as it is.”
Yonatan Zofy is in love with drawing—and the expressive honesty and connection to the now that only a pencil can provide. His latest drawing series, “Physical Images,” steps back from picturesque surfaces and brings us closer to the intimate reality within. Zofy’s “Window” is one example. Here, the effect of city lights emerging from trees marks the serendipitous moment of contact between graphite and canola oil. “The halo of light dissolves at the edges of the graphite, marking the boundary where the oil stopped expanding over the paper’s surface,’ says Zofy. “It’s a mark on space recording a process in time.”
Joseph Dadoune is a renowned photographer, video artist and director. His 2008 film “Ofakim” documents the cultural and social life of Ofakim, a town where he largely spent his childhood. It was one of the “instant towns” of Israel’s nascent days—a social engineering experiment that thrust thousands of immigrants into the wilderness, often unwillingly. In one memorable scene from Dadoune’s film, a group of young men and women stand motionless in a deserted factory. Suddenly, they walk, carrying a missile past military bases in a pointless Sisyphean march. The artist observes that, “Ofakim is at the periphery of Israel. It’s a powerful symbol of the fragile Israeli reality in this region. By telling its story, I tell the story of the working class of our times.”
Samantha Adler de Olivera is a videographer and artist who originally trained as a dancer. About her marquetry series, shown in this exhibition, she says, “I use a traditional, time-consuming handcraft technique to rework images drawn from popular digital games and YouTube videos. In each image, the protagonists have been removed so that the viewer’s focus of attention is shifted towards the image’s architectonic background. A few transient virtual spaces of daily contemporary life are thus frozen in time and given center-stage, for the viewer to observe and walk in.”
Ravit Gat is an innovative painter and textile artist. “Encounters with life are necessary for my work,” she says. “I don’t need optimal conditions and assume that I would create nothing at all if I was sent to work on a remote island with an unlimited budget. Life’s beat, pulse, pain joy and agony are the fuel that fires my creation. I internalize my life experience outside the studio, return, transform my inner life into art, and then send it back to the world. In this way, my work is constantly oscillating between inside and outside worlds.”
Iddo Markus has recently devoted himself to working on miniature paintings and small-scale formats. With the aid of micro-miniature woodblocks, a paintbrush and great patience, he creates his Lilliputian scenes. Then he gives each image a home in installations reflecting his ongoing investigation of the history of Western landscape painting. Markus’ history lesson moves from J.M.W. Turner to Mark Rothko to ironic examples of the lifeless, post-industrial landscapes of today that most painters shun. “With each installation, I tie all the miniatures together in a modern grid,” says Markus. “The result leaves all romantic ideas behind.”
In her curator’s statement, Shosh Dagan speaks of contemporary art as a universal language, spoken by visual artists around the globe. At the same time, every artist speaks with the accents of home. “Hand in hand with art’s universality, art must always be specific to a time and place,” she writes. “The cradle of the true artist is ‘location,’ ‘home,’ and ‘homeland.’ Today’s Israeli artists are no different. The sacred forms of the Hebrew language, the brightness of Israel’s landscape, and the depths of its spiritual and cultural struggles inform their work. I invite you to experience a small sample of their endless creativity.”
For more information about Art Center Sarasota, call 941-365-2032 or visit www.artsarasota.org.
About Art Center Sarasota
Art Center Sarasota was the first arts and cultural institution in Sarasota. It was founded in 1926 as the “Sarasota Art Association” by Marcia Rader, the art supervisor for the Sarasota County schools district. In the early years, the group met monthly and sponsored exhibits in rented facilities. The Association was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1943 and has been in its current location in the Sarasota Bayfront Cultural District since 1949. Art Center Sarasota is now a membership-based organization that offers curated and juried exhibitions, adult and youth education programs, outreach initiatives for underserved youth, and culturally related public programming. Art Center Sarasota’s mission is to inspire individual creative expression, nurture artistic talent and provide the community with accessible and diverse visual art opportunities.
Art Center Sarasota
707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236