Al-Kimia, an exhibit of mixed media works by Jilly Rubinstein will open on October 17th at Nir Zook’s Noa Bistro. Curated by Eliza Duenow, this is the second exhibit in The Jaffa Aesthetic, an exhibition series that Duenow says is “for those who see the magic in the muted tones and unpolished surfaces and that un-made beauty of decay.”
[press release] Duenow says of Rubenstein’s works, “This is a stunning collection of tactilely attuned mixed media pieces—raw but welcoming, edgy but warm, and playing with an incredible range of materials that reflect the same beautifully altered-aged aesthetic that the exhibition series aims to showcase…”
Alchemy, derived from the Arabic word al-kimia (الكيمياء), is an ancient practice focused on the attempt to change base metals into gold. Its philosophy is to investigate the preparation of the “elixir of longevity”, and in doing so, to achieve ultimate wisdom.
In al-kimia, Rubenstein assembles, reconstructs and composes natural elements to weave alchemic creations. Layer upon layer, Rubenstein’s works follow the tradition of assemblage and collage, where she incorporates preformed natural and manufactured materials and objects that have gone through an alchemical process. She lists materials including, “…australian paperbark trees, coffee, tamarind seeds, rope, rusted metals, bits of broken glass, straw, strings, stones, sand, marble dust, rusted metals…all these have been collected and placed in interacting complimentary layers.” When Rubenstein then approaches her canvases with brush in hand, the very act of painting unifies the layers with applications of color and lacquer. This process allows for a metamorphosis to unfold, where fragments of the earth are turned into art. The colors of the earth and sea stand prominent as fertilizing and purifying forces in all the works.
On her canvases, layers, collages and re-workings of these materials are transmuted into richly textured compositions that reflect the artist’s love of the land and sea. She approaches the empty canvas without knowing what will come about or what will be created. “Painting for me is like a panacea. I constantly search my everyday landscapes for materials I can use; I see treasures where people see trash. I find things on the edge of disintegration and work to breathe beauty and light back into them. Much like an alchemist, I feel my creative process involves assembling and reassembling materials, taking them through many stages of transformation and only finding them more ‘finished’ once combined with other textures and new surface combinations. My overriding influence comes from the earth and the beauty in how nature changes, ages and evolves everything into ever new forms.”
Jilly Rubenstein was selected by curator Eliza Duenow to be the second exhibiting artist in the Jaffa Aesthetic series at Noa. Duenow says she first looked to Noa Bistro to host the series since Nir Zook’s establishments uniquely embrace and celebrate the Jaffa aesthetic, while also being the original harbingers of a new era of “development” in Jaffa over the last decade. Duenow calls Nir Zook one of the pioneers of championing the Jaffa aesthetic and the pishpishim as a mecca of must-have style. Duenow’s aim is that both the artists in the series and Noa Bistro will hold an agenda not only to honor the distinct style of Jaffa, but also to expand the audience who appreciates this aesthetic… so that “as the neighborhood inevitably further gentrifies, hopefully some of the unique spirit and charm will be retained between the more polished swanky new developments.”
To inaugurate her first solo exhibition, the artist will be donating 70% of all sales to “First Hug”, The Association for the Care of Abandoned Babies (“חיבוק ראשון”). Each year, approximately 300 babies are abandoned by their parents in hospitals throughout Israel. These babies remain hospitalized in various departments, sometimes for many months without a mother’s loving hug. The unfortunate fact is that the care of the nurses and doctors in the hospital is not able to extend past their responsibilities and duties. First Hug is the only association that is specifically designated to provide emotional care to these abandoned babies. The Association’s volunteers fill the vacuum that is created by the absence of parents and they give the babies the human touch, emotional treatment, warmth, and love that is so necessary for their development and recovery.