Walking on Dry Land
Jun 14–Aug 28, 2022
Offering a haven from the bustling city, Rotem Reshef’s painterly environment is created by two islands of color and texture. While suggesting a site of refuge, the site-specific installation presents a dual perspective of an inner world mirroring an exterior landscape, arresting in time the cycle of seasons. Reshef’s practice suggests that painting can shift modes, expand and modify our perception, like a story unfolding. Reshef’s work alludes to a long history of drifting and wandering—of her own, her family’s, and all of us who navigate a world of shifting restrictions—the closing and opening of borders and global migration. Movement through the space may allude to the crossing of the Red Sea, as the dry land offered a fantastical path of rescue and safety, a sudden and unexpected change of events that transformed a catastrophe into a trail for redemption.
Strolling urban environments like Walter Benjamin’s flâneur, Reshef picks up traces of abandoned history and signs of lives that existed and vanished: vegetation waste, twigs and scraps of wood, remains of a landscape, either planned or wild, are gathered once again, into the immortalizing world of art-making. By bringing these anonymous materials into the studio, Reshef offers renewal and healing, creating for viewers an opportunity to experience a revived beauty.
This exhibition continues Reshef’s installation from 2020, A Heartfelt Event, that reacted in real time to the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the political turmoil of that year on Israeli society and the artist’s own private life. Yet this time, Reshef reflects on the age “after” the crisis, its anxiety, and unknown long-term consequences.
Rotem Reshef is a painter and installation artist based in New York and Tel Aviv and is a graduate of HaMidrasha – Faculty of the Arts in Israel and the Reinwardt Academy in Amsterdam.
Reshef’s recent work creates political and social commentary via immersive installations and paintings that relate to society’s effect on climate change and peoples’ relations to their private and public environments, while embracing methods and ideas of tikkun and ecofeminism. Reshef uses waste vegetation (branches, petals, ferns, leaves, etc.) collected in the streets, parks, and elsewhere in urban surroundings, and imprints these “relics” onto her canvases in a technique that resembles photograms.
Reshef’s paintings and large-scale installations have been shown internationally in solo and group exhibitions.