Traces IV: Caught in the Thicket – Drawing Biennale in Israel

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Curator Tamar Manor-Friedman and on the wall - Maya Attoun, A Fine Mess, from 2008 to 2010, Pencil, spray paint, rope and porcelain vessels, on wall, 300x350x10 cm

The Fourth Biennale for Drawing in Israel, Traces IV: Caught in the Thicket, will close on January 29, 2011 – so there is still time to enjoy this exhibit which extends throughout Jerusalem. Tamar Manor-Friedman is the curator for the Biennale and the exhibit in the Jerusalem Artists’ House, with independent curators staging the exhibitions in the different venues: the Agripas 12 Gallery, Jerusalem Print Workshop, Barbur Gallery, and Ticho House.

The lines between artistic disciplines are blurred: shifting, moving, changing faster than our eyes or minds can perceive. Drawing is no exception, and the task of defining drawing is one of reflection, dialogue and debate, rather than a simple summation. Initiated by the Jerusalem Artists’ House in 2001, the biennale has been held since 2001, leading Curator Tamar Manor-Friedman to feel that the current situation of drawing in Israel has been well surveyed in previous exhibits, and it would be timely to focus on the essence of drawing: the line and its expression in the thicket.

Visually compelling, conceptually cohesive and infinitely alluring, a recent walk through the exhibit at the Jerusalem Artists’ House left me with a strong desire to return. The interwoven images of webs on paper, fabric and LCD screens caught me in their net, provoking a myriad of thoughts and associations. 

Traces IV - at the Artists' House in Jerusalem. In the center of the room, a partial view of Maya Attoun's Gut Feeling (2007 Linen rope, synthetic rope and porcelain cups)

The exhibit includes works of well known Israeli artists alongside those that have not had public exposure. A general call for works elicited 350 responses within a month, which were available to all the participating curators. This open approach enables the public to encounter new artists and works, such as David Arbitman’s The Maze of Imagination (2010, charcoal and pastel on Amate paper, 40×60 cm), conjuring and exorcizing demons.

On my observation that drawing tends to draw out obsessive tendencies, Curator Manor-Friedman concurred and pointed out a series of works by Daniela Yaniv-Richter, from the Galaxies series, (2009, felt tip pen on paper, 29.5x21cm). Manor-Friedman said, “Every night, once the household tasks are done, she feels that she must fill an entire page, like a personal journal. Each page is an inner world, a galaxy.” In another room is a work by Boaz Aharonovitch, Humans 2010 (Digital drawing, 160 images in 3 minutes), which also consists of drawings the artists makes each morning based on images from photographs in the morning paper. These works are projected at rapid speed, a work of “cumulative memory” explained Manor-Friedman.

Each room in the historic building has been planned around a certain theme, method or feeling, creating a dialogue between the works. Reflecting the diversity of approaches to drawing in Israel, meticulously chosen and conscientiously hung it’s the kind of exhibit that can send even a drawing teetotaler into a drunken spree of delight.

Exhibit related events coming up at the Artists’ House:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011, from 19:30-21:00 – Artists’ House – Video art screening event hosted by Reuven Zahavi

Friday, January 28, 2011, from 10:00-14:00 – Artists’ House – Closing event: drawing marathon: Sasha Okun, Masha Zusman, Maya Cohen Levi, Sigal Tsabari, Alex Kremer. Early registration required – please request the artist of your choice upon registration: artists@zahav.net.il

For further information and updates please visit the galleries’ websites:
Jerusalem Artists’ House: www.art.org.il
Barbur Gallery: www.barbur.org
Agripas 12 Gallery: www.agripas12gallery.com
Ticho House: www.imjnet.org.il
Jerusalem Print Workshop: www.jerusalemprintworkshop.org

The Jerusalem Artists’ House, 12 Shmuel HaNagid Street, Jerusalem, 02-6253653