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July-September 2022

My anticipated residency at NARS Foundation in Brooklyn NY, finally started, and I will be spending there the next several months.

I got a nice studio, facing the Hudson river, and very symbolically, the Statue of Liberty :-)

Started to work in my new studio with plants I picked up in the green areas in Sunset Park neighborhood, especially Greenwood Park.

Besides the studio space, NARS will provide the 13 international and New York based residents, studio visits with art professionals.

During the month of September, there will be an exhibition that will evolve during the coming months.

Please mark your calendars with the date for the Opening Reception: September 2, 6:00-8:00 pm.

The New York Art Residency and Studios (NARS) Foundation is a not-for-profit arts organization committed to supporting artists and curators on an international level as well engaging the local community in Brooklyn and the Greater New York area. NARS provides an array of creative support services and professional development opportunities for emerging and mid-career artists through short-term integrated residency programs, progressive exhibition programs, international exchanges, and engaging public programs that foster global understanding and dynamic cross-cultural dialogues.

201 46th Street

4th Floor

Brooklyn, NY 11220

Kate Mothes, Dovetail Magazine | June, 2022

Happy to share this interview in Dovetail magazine by Kate Mothes

Along the route between home and her studio, Rotem Reshef collects a scatter of leafy plants and grasses in a variety of sizes and textures. Overgrown or discarded, these plants provide the basis for the artist’s ongoing series of botanical paintings and installations, working in collaboration with her surroundings. Based between Tel Aviv and New York, her work is an evolving exploration of the relationship between art and environment, especially in recent projects in large spaces and outdoors where the paintings have assumed monumental scale.

Reshef describes her process as a balance of control and release. She selects and gathers the plants, “creating a world” on the canvas by laying them out in intuitive patterns and groupings, then applying paint on top of them. After the initial interaction, she allows time and the organic material to guide the way: “I value the frequent surprises that occur when I leave a canvas with plants, twigs, scraps of wood, and pigment to dry, and then peel them off after a few days or weeks. The tonalities in color and the textures can never be fully planned or anticipated. This is a thrill I look forward to when I enter the studio every morning.”

When working toward an exhibition in a specific space, she likes to incorporate plants from the local area, such as specimens from the botanical garden that is part of the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History in Tel Aviv. In 2020, when she was invited to create an artwork for HaChava (The Farm) Gallery, an organization combining ecological education and environmentally-conscious art exhibitions, she created an indoor-outdoor installation that included plants grown on the farm. Fascinated by the “idea of a land, belonging, and nomadity,” she examined the ways in which we interact with natural landscapes through a combination of vision, scent, and movement through space.

Immersive surroundings comprise the basis of another exhibition in New York at Marleen Meyerson Jewish Community Center’s Laurie M. Tisch Gallery, where swaths of unstretched canvas in colorful, abstracted botanical forms wrap around curved walls and drape around corners. While she sometimes works on stretched canvases, she prefers working directly onto long, loose scrolls that she lays down on the floor of her studio. “When working on an unstretched canvas, the composition can continue on and on, and usually it is configured as an installation or a painterly environment,” she explains. Like nature, where the essential elements of her paintings are sourced, she wishes to encourage a 360-degree viewing experience.

“I see working on large-scale formats as a feminist statement,” Reshef says, reflecting on the limitations imposed on women artists historically. “Women painters most often were excluded from creating in ambitious formats, exactly because it was considered ‘too ambitious.’” She considers scale to be a means toward visibility, citing groundbreaking work by artists like Helen Frankenthaler, Katharina Grosse, or Julie Mehretu, who challenged the status quo and communicate powerfully through the language of magnitude. For an outdoor installation at the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History in Tel Aviv, Reshef has made large-scale scans of original paintings, putting the architecture of the museum in dialogue with the environment and complementing the eloquence of nature.

Reshef’s exhibition Walking on Dry Land at the Laurie M. Tisch Gallery continues through August 28, 2022, and the public outdoor installation Passage at the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History in Tel Aviv is ongoing through the end of 2023. You can find more information on the artist’s website and on Instagram.

June, 2022

My solo exhibition, "Passage", opened June 28th, 5:30-7:30 pm, at The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Galil Plaza, in Tel Aviv.

The installation “Passage” strives to raise awareness of issues related to interactions between humans and nature, such as climate change, natural resource exploitation, and the disrupted cycles of the seasons. It seeks to strengthen our compassion and concern for the surroundings, as a corrective and healing response to environmental destruction. These ideas are planted in the installation as abstract graphic experiences that embody different types of personal, family, and collective memories.

In creating the installation, Reshef used prunings from the botanical gardens and urban landscape of Tel Aviv – branches and leaves that were cut out from the circle of life. This waste turned into “treasure”, and now tells a new story through the “corrective” practice of art , which takes the dead and breathes a new spirit into it. Thus, the artistic garden echoes the nearby physical garden.

The “Passage” also relates to the laboratories, research rooms, and libraries within the Steinhardt Museum, and instills the world of humanities and books into the world of nature and botanic gardens. These facilitate the development of knowledge and tools for managing the ecosystem in which we live, and build the scientific base that will enable us, as a community, to move forward.

Rotem Reshef is a painter and installation artist who has shown her works in many solo and group exhibitions in Israel and around the world. Her artistic practice focuses on the human and natural ecosystems, the fragility of life, and the opportunity for a second chance.

Klausner St 12,

Tel Aviv-Yafo

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