When traveling through Israel last month, we met these amazing artists and fell in love with their work
Alma Itzhaky, Noon Prayer at the Repair Shop, 2015
Alma Itzhaky, born in 1984, lives and works in south Tel Aviv. She explores the daily geopolitical arena, depicting scenes which she uses as the objects of her art. Itzhaky's painting style originates from the expressionist tradition of painting which is conveyed in her strong brush strokes and angular dynamic compositions. Her work reflects her generation's social and political mood, addressing the contemporary reality of Tel Aviv - Jaffa. She won the Rappaport Prize for a Young Artist (2014), the Osnat Mozes Painting Prize (2012), and currently has a solo exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art through January 2016. Her enthusiasm for her work comes through in her dialogue and it is fascinating to see the world through her eyes.
Alma Itzhaky, Brother Bread, 2015
Nahum Tevet, Doubled Mirrors, 2015, Industrial Paint, acrylic on wood, metallic mirror
Nahum Tevet is a charming Israeli sculptor. He was born in 1946, in Kibbutz Mesilot, Israel, but now lives and works in Tel Aviv. His conceptual work uses the basis of minimalism to create sculptural and architectural installations based on geometric modules. Nahum was the most extreme of the Israeli Minimalists in the mid-1970s. He saw creativity as a process based on a system of abstentions and reductions; the aim of the creative process being to impart the essence of the plastic medium. However, at least two qualities in his work break the rules of Minimalism: the lyric quality of his color and line, and the frequent resemblance of his works to real objects, like tables or beds. His work is included in a group show at Nymphius Projeckte in Berlin through April.
Nahum Tevet, Table #2, 2013, Industrial paint, acrylic on wood, plexiglass
Tal Frank, Do It Yourself F&W, 2010
Tal Frank, born in 1973, is a sculptor and installation artist. Random accidents lay at the core of her work. She creates sculptural installations that present an imaginary world inspired from common objects and materials that are placed within new settings. Her sculptures are interpreted as ready-made objects stripped of their original functional value. These new, self-created surroundings are rich in materials, yet quiet and minimalist in their tone, and through them Frank explores a new contemporary relation between object and space. She is dedicated to sculpture as a practice grounded in high craftsmanship, through conceptual exploration and reflection. In 2007 she received an MFA from the Fine Art Department, Haifa University, and in 2005 she earned her BED at Hamidrasha School of Art, Beit Berl College. Frank also has had solo shows at the Haifa Museum of Art and Rosenfeld Gallery.
Tal Frank, Kiss, 2012, Aluminum casting, automotive paint
Barry Frydlender, The Flood, 2003, Chromogenic color print
(as seen from the artist's studio window)
Using digital technology, Barry Frydlender creates seamless panoramas out of hundreds of photographs. In the resulting continuous images, patterns and people repeat, almost imperceptibly. His scenes of intersections, cityscapes, beaches, and offices at first appear in excruciating detail, but upon closer look, the viewer understands that these details have been inserted and overlapped, presenting a heightened world that is more detailed than our own. In 2007, Frydlender was the first Israeli artist to be given a solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Frydlender studied film and television at the University of Tel Aviv, graduating in 1980. His work is held in the collections of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Jewish Museum in New York, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Barry warmly welcomed me into the labyrinth of his walk-up studio and was proud to show me the window overlooking the city from which he takes his many photographs. He unrolled countless images and push-pinned his masterpieces on to the walls, allowing me an intimate glimpse into the inner-workings of his practice.
Barry Frydlender, Noach, 2007, Chromogenic color print
(as seen from the artist's same window years later)
Born in 1972, Ilit Azoulay currently lives and works in Tel Aviv. Her work is based on processed photographic archeological montage, which involves field research and computerization. The end results contain thousands of images reorganized and remodeled together to create new Utopian venues. As articulated so beautifully by Ilit, she typically starts by spotting buildings that are slated for demolition. Usually they are located in the old, southern parts of Tel-Aviv, but her research has brought her as far as Germany for her latest project (Shifting Degrees of Certainty, now on view at the MoMA, NY through March 20). Ilit finds traces of previous lives by studying the walls of the soon-to-be demolished sites, scratching and peeling the surface, and rediscovering their inner layers and collecting textures. In doing this, she quickly learned that construction in Israel is characterized by an unusual sense of "things" which often calls for the instant, the cheap, and the fast. In almost every building she has worked in, Azoulay has found at least one wall - always an inner wall not built to support a lot of weight - made from wood and industrial waste - 'fake walls'. She discovered that throughout the 1950s and 60s in Israel, construction workers were forced to use improvised materials in order to complete the task of providing homes for the large numbers of immigrants flooding the new-born country. These hidden objects inside the walls include metal pieces, stones, plastics, aluminum, alloy, or glass shards, even seashells and leftover fish bones from workers' lunches. After cleaning these objects and photographing each one separately, from the same angle, using the same lens and under the same light, Azoulay re-constructs the "wall" in Photoshop, placing and arranging the photographed objects into large-scale panoramas that simulate a fictitious space. The finished image appears to be a realistic and possible space, while reminiscent of a 'cabinet of curiosities' that exposes the means and the process through which it was constructed.
Ilit Azoulay, Red, 2013
Elham Rokni's works in video installation and drawing use her personal history, as a refugee from Iran who settled in Israel, to explore collective experiences of loss and displacement. Alternating between dreamscape and documentary, Rokni's works investigate the disconnection between people's hopes and expectations and their often tragic realities, using art to describe the imaginative, unconscious dimensions of experience. Rokni received her BFA and MFA from Bezalel Academy in Israel. She has participated in international film festivals and has received grants from the Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Yehushua Rabinovich Tel Aviv Foundation for the Arts, and the Fund for Video Art and Experimental Cinema in Israel. We missed seeing Rokni in her studio in Tel Aviv since she is currently an Artist in Residence at the 18th Street Arts Center, Los Angeles. She also has a solo exhibition at Shulamit Nazarian Gallery in LA through February 18. Additionally her work "Crossing the Dune" will be included in the Islamic Art Now, Part 2 exhibit and in the permanent collection at LACMA.
Elham Rokni, Space Mosque, 2015, Mixed media on paper