I invited my intern, Gianna Corvino, to spend time with Israeli-based painter Rotem Reshef during her recent trip to Tel Aviv. Reshef will be featured in my September L.A. exhibition, ‘Conscious Shift,’ and will also unveil new works in her first solo U.S. museum exhibition in October.Kipton Cronkite
As I close my taxi door, the summer-y heat of July in Tel Aviv washes over me. I find myself in the studio district and am greeted by the friendly face of Rotem Reshef, a NY and Tel Aviv based painter. Walking into her studio was more like walking into a colorful workshop: explosive paintings lining the wall and dozens of water bottles filled with paint covering the floor. The studio seemed to be a self portrait of the artist herself. As I gazed upon the canvas that lined the floor with marks of a passionate artist, I could tell these works posed more than simply an object on view, but presented their audience with a story to uncover.
Reshef works rather physically with her works, pouring various acrylics down onto her canvas on the floor. Her works are known for their expressive and vibrant use of color. Through techniques such as pouring, incorporating both organic and manufactured objects layered into her works, and creating three dimensional pieces, Reshef aims to create a discussion about the planet: “I love seasons, I think they talk about time, they talk about space, they talk about us in this changing of times.”
Her works tie back to not only how the seasons represent a passing of time, but also tie into themes of global warming and how these individual seasons ultimately work together. There is clear depiction of both the solidarity and character of a moment in time, but how this solidarity can often become hectic and interwoven in so much more.
In regards to her artistic process, Reshef’s method is anything but ordinary. While the artist yearns for some kind of controlled outcome, her paints and canvas rebel against this notion. With each painting not only comes art, but lessons in life. Reshef works on the floor with liquid paint, a more fluid material that makes it harder to control the end result. As she pours one design at night, the paintings take on a life of their own. The artist notes that she may walk into her studio the next morning and find a completely different design or painting. Reshef speaks of this uncontrollable nature saying “there is something about how much I can control and how much I can let go, and with the liquid paint I have to let go and the more I paint the more I learn how to let go.”
Reshef’s works on display, “Reef” and “Spectrum,” highlight both the artist’s attention to nature and to color. “Reef,” inspired by the ocean scenery, incorporates depictions of coral, sea creatures and seaweed. The nature oriented piece highlights the alluring, wondrous, and all knowing sea. “Spectrum” is a collection of color oriented paintings originally created for Pride month in L.A. The complex layers and textures of the works pose a kind of puzzle for the viewer to solve. The artist comments on the illusive nature of the pieces saying “I think it’s something that you can sit for hours and always find something new in.” The vibrancy of the yellow painting in the collection is noted by the artist as the sun looking at you. This series truly highlights the beauty of a singular color, but the power created when all colors come together, a type of chaotically sound collision.
A work of Reshef’s will never be the same as another. What you see in one piece is certainly not what you will get in another. The artist says it best herself, “I’m not like a factory, I will never do anything with repetition or that is the same. It is always about discovering something new to expand the borders of what I do.”
The allure and complexity of Reshef’s works speak for themselves. These paintings have their own personalities, character, story. Let your eyes and mind explore the intricate yet wild world of Rotem. These paintings are more than depiction, they are her: “It’s me on the large canvas, it’s a technique that is developing all the time.”
by Gianna Corvino – August 2019