Artist Spotlight: Rotem Reshef
Rotem Reshef is a painter and installation artist, and a graduate of HaMidrasha School of Art in Israel and the Reinwardt Academy, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her paintings and large-scale installations have been shown internationally in solo and group exhibitions, in venues such as the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY; The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Tel Aviv; Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles, and the Laurie M. Tisch Gallery, New York, among others. Reshef is currently working toward a solo exhibition at the Bakersfield Museum of Art in California, opening in January 2023.
Photo: Eyal Toueg
What or who inspired your interest in the arts?
Art was my default ever since I was a little girl. I was creative, I liked wondering, thinking and looking for things people left behind and turned them into art: a fisherman’s rope at Palmachim beach; large sheets of vinyl papers without the adhesive, left in a shed in an orange orchard; doors that were thrown away; etc. We had some art books at home and I loved flipping through them – reproductions of art from the Louvre, Impressionism, etc.
I loved going to art camps and after-school activities, and trying different craft techniques: copper etching, working with clay, cutting styrofoam with hot wire, painting, drawing. I went with my artistic aunt to a paper workshop and admired her incredible collection of markers that was brought from New York in the 70’s. It wasn’t about seeing art as much as it was a means of expression, and it triggered every inch of curiosity in me.
“Walking on Dry Land”, 2022, Laurie M. Tisch Gallery, New York
What was the creative journey that has brought you to where you are today?
After graduating from HaMidrasha school of art in 1988, I stopped making art for many years. There was a toxic critique that paralyzed my creativity, and I left the art world, despite receiving a grant and great feedback. In the early 2000s, my parents’ house had been broken into, and two of my paintings were the only things stolen. My parents were devastated and I felt I had to replace the stolen pieces and started to paint again. It was the beginning of a long journey back to art. My biggest discovery back then was the use of diluted acrylic paint, and my exploration with the fluidity of it, which later was called “control and release”, was the trigger to many bodies of work, endless studio hours and an international career.
“Passage”, 2022, The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Tel Aviv
What are you working on now?
Currently I am an artist in residence at NARS Foundation in Brooklyn, NY, and am working, for the first time, on a paper-based installation that will debut as part of a group exhibition opening on September 2nd (Curator: Marie Anine Møller). In the beginning of September I will also be part of a group exhibition centering on artists using clay expressively (“Action Claying”), that will open in the Center for the Arts at Towson University in Maryland (Curators: Sagi Refael and J. Susan Isaacs). It is a new experience for me to be working with clay and I’m very excited about my canvas-ceramic installation there. Finally, I am very busy flying from coast to coast, working towards a solo exhibition that will open in January 2023 at the Bakersfield Museum of Art in Southern California (curator: Rachel McCullah Wainwright). I have a temporary studio there, and have been collaborating with some fabulous people to assist me in collecting local vegetation to use in my scroll paintings for the exhibition, which will reflect on the city’s and museum’s surroundings.
“Cascades”, 2022, NARS Foundation, Brooklyn, NY,
Photo by the Artist
What do you need as an artist today?
I am very fortunate that my work is gaining larger institutional recognition and that it is being collected and appreciated by a growing number of people. No matter how busy my schedule is, I am always looking for the next challenge and a new venue to explore. As an artist dividing my time between New York and Tel Aviv, it is challenging to maintain an active participation in both art worlds. Therefore, I am always curious to meet innovative collaborators, find professional opportunities or explore a gallery representation, that could give me an even broader network of contacts, and a larger international exposure, that will take me to the next level in my career.