Amnon Ben Ami Awarded Ilana Elovic Bezalel Prize for Painting
Written by: Ayelet Dekel
Amnon Ben Ami was awarded the first-ever Ilana Elovic Bezalel Prize for Painting, named in memory of self-taught Israeli-American artist, Ilana Elovic. The award was presented to Ben Ami by Ilana’s husband, Dr Eugene Elovic, Prof Arnon Zuckerman, president of Bezalel Academy, Rivka Saker, chair of Sotheby’s Israel and artist Michal Rovner at a press conference held yesterday at the Bezalel Gallery in Tel Aviv.
The prize, which was launched internationally in December in search of a deserving Israeli artist, comprises an award of $20,000 as well as a catalog and solo exhibition at the Bezalel Gallery, Yaffo 23, Jerusalem in November 2012.
The panel of judges included Professor Zuckerman; Professor Nahum Tevet; artist and Bezalel faculty member; Yigal Zalmona, well-known curator; Rovner; and Saker.
“I’m happy that the judges chose you among all the worthy candidates,” said Dr Elovic to Ben Ami. “I’m sure it was not an easy choice for them to make. I hope that this prize will be of assistance to you to advance your art in the future.”
Rivka Saker read the panel’s decision, “Ben-Ami is a fascinating artist whose works expand the definition of the field of “painting” and challenge convention. On the one hand, his paintings are based on a conceptual and intellectual approach, relying on in-depth thought and an attempt to clarify concepts and experiences such as “vision” or “color” and the study of topics in the field of painting. On the other hand, his paintings radiate a sensuous enthusiasm for the color, the mere movement of the brush and the creation of the image on the canvas. It seems that everything in his nearby vicinity, banal as it may be, transforms a relentless process of constant creation of art.”
Michal Rovner spoke of her visit to Ben Ami’s studio the previous day, describing it as “an intensive place, full of objects and questions,” and said, “I have a feeling that he has the strength of spirit to contend with uncertainty and ask questions.”
Amnon Ben Ami has been the recipient of several prizes over the years, including: the Prize to Encourage Creativity from the Ministry of Education and Culture (2008), The Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation Award (2006), a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2001), and the Young Artist Award from the Ministry of Education and Culture (1988).