Biography

 

Maya Gelfman (born 1978, Israel) is a visual artist. Her main mediums are installation, painting and street-art.

A graduate of Shenkar Academy in 2006, she’s since had eight solo exhibitions. The 9th is opening in October 2022 in Vienna, Austria.

Among others, she has exhibited at: The Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Haifa Museum of Art, National Gallery in Bangkok, By of the People Festival in Washington D.C. (in collaboration with the Smithsonian and the National Cathedral), ArtRooms Art Fair in London, Art Basel Miami, Tama University of Art in Tokyo.

 

In 2013 Gelfman gave a TEDx talk in Tel Aviv about her artistic process.

Her works have received the attention of the media, both in print and online, as well as in films and on TV.

They were published in two international art books in Germany and France. 

And later on this year a third book that focuses on prominent Textile Artists will feature a work by Gelfman, in England, 2022. 

She’s a well-known street-artist, where she is best known for her unique technique of drawing with yarn on walls.

In 2015 Paper Magazine named her among the top ten street-artists in Israel.

Gelfman also has a joint public-art project called Mind the Heart! Project.

Along with her partner, Roie Avidan (a photographer and poet), they explore urbanity, wandering and randomness

to see how these concepts impact their artistic practice.

 

Between 2017-2021 Gelfman & Avidan embarked on an extraordinary performance. They designed it as an "experiment" that required them

to forgo any control over their lives, except for the act of creation. They gave away all their possessions and let strangers dictate their route, budget, schedule and daily encounters, all the while creating site-and-time-specific works that reflect these experiences.

The "Serendipity Experiment" toured the U.S.A. four times for 50,000 miles. Visiting 45 States, meeting thousands of people, exhibiting five exhibitions and giving ten artist talks.

 

Artist statement

When I was four years old, I had a near death experience while going through an open-heart surgery.

My heart stopped beating, my body temperature went low, and a heart-lung machine kept me alive.

Coming back from that threshold, I knew that opposites are bound together and that I encompass both. 

That experience left me fascinated with "edges" - where extremities, that are perceived as opposites, can meet. 

 

My works are born from a simultaneous sense of vertigo and stability. They deal with dichotomies and are shaped by a desire for balance.

​I examine the impact of trauma and how forces, "larger-than-life", shape mankind, and more specifically women-kind, since the dawn of time. 

I have come to believe that our existential struggle against external forces is essentially an internal one.

The works measure opposing ideas against each other in order to find reconciliation.

Ideas such as - beauty that encompasses crudeness, weakness as a source of strength, and disillusionment that feeds innocence.

And this search for symbiosis is reflected in every aspect of my artistic practice.

The process is informed by schooled and automatic thought, by weaving together layers, techniques and materials, by drawing from both ancient and contemporary culture. The decision to work in two parallel fields - in ‘white cubes’ and in public spaces - stems from the same root.

Allowing the boundaries between daily life and art to become flexible.

 

A short introduction to the works:​​ installations, paintings and street art.

The installations are often large, handmade with soft materials (yarn and fabric). 

The paintings are mixed media, and can be divided into two bodies of work: figurative and abstract. 

  1. The first one is symbolistic; an embroidery of a new mythology in which I am both myself and a symbolic representation of femininity.

  2. The latter does not attempt to depict a reality but to outline relationships between form, color and shape, as a transformative practice.

The street art is done as a performative, mindfulness practice, created with tangible materials (yarn, duct-tape and treated foam).

Breakdown of painted series:

The early works ("Red Heart", 2007/8 and 2009) are naïve drawings of bodies and situations, subtle yet disturbing. Minimalist figures floating in white spaces.

With time, layers appear ("Illusions & Reality", 2010-2012 and 2013), representing the struggle to resolve past, present and future.

Then the slow Sisyphean process shift into dance-like rituals. ("Release", 2014-2016) The works are done in one continuous session that takes anywhere between a day to three days.

Between 2017-2021 I immersed my life and art in an experimental performance. My partner and I (aka Mind the Heart! Project) traveled across the U.S.

and created site-and-time-specific works in public spaces.

Currently, I’m back in the studio, working on a new series of abstract paintings ("The Unimaginable Horizon", 2021-2022).

Influenced by the shifts of the last five years. these works explore disintegration and reassembly.

CV & Resume

 

Born 1978 in Israel

Education

Shenkar Academy, BA in visual communication

Solo Exhibitions

2022

The Unimaginable Horizon, AG18 Gallery, Vienna, curator: Dr. Michael Schmitz

2019

Form, Re-Form, AG18 Gallery, Vienna, curator: Dr. Michael Schmitz

2017

Outside looking in, National Art Gallery, Bangkok, Curator: Rattapong

2016

Split Ends, Tel Aviv Artist House. Curator: Raz Samira

2013       

Spark, Zadik Gallery, Jaffa, curator: Hana Coman

Process, Tel Aviv City Municipality Arts and Culture division, curator: Maayan Nevo

2012       

Rise!, Tsuk Gallery, Netanya, curator: Maya Kashevitz

Heartbeats, Weiss House, Tel Aviv, curators: Vera Pilpoul and Hagit Burnstein

2010       

Strings, Artists House, Tel Aviv, curator: Orly Hoffman

 
Group Exhibitions

2019

Metamorphosis: The Place of the Past in the Present, CITYarts, Orlando, FL, USA

2017

ARTROOMS, Meliá White House, London England

Radical Love, Crypt Gallery, London England

2016      

Wire/less Connections, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Vitrinart, The Tel-Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv

Grand Opening, Milu Gallery Hotel, Florence Italy

2015      

Stories the Streets tell, The Israeli Children’s Museum, Holon

Hamekarer, The Old Wholesale Marketplace, Tel Aviv

S2G, kulturkueche, Monchengladbach

Presence, Tirosh Gallery, Tel Aviv

Temporary Crew, St.Art Gallery, Tel Aviv

2014      

Slideluck III, Tel Aviv

Launching Meshuna, Meshuna Gallery, Tel Aviv

​2013​      

Testing Tools Festival #10, Beit Tami, Tel Aviv

Note to Selves, Container, Jaffa port

7F, 7th Floor, Tel Aviv

Base Colors #2, Israel-Lebanon border, Activism Art event at IDF military bases

​​2012​      

Heroes in Distress, Art Basel, Miami, Overture/Scope art fair

Once I was a House, art event, Caesarea
Small Scale - 20\20, Zadik Gallery, Tel Aviv

Creation Cycle, Hangar 2, Jaffa Port

Free Art Friday, Tel Aviv

Spring Festival, Shapira Neighbourhood, Tel Aviv

Base Colors #1, Israel-Syria border, Activism Art event at IDF military bases

On the Fence #3, Jaffa

Love Art Make Art, Open Studio, Tel Aviv

​​2011      

Haifa Walks, Haifa Museum of Art

ZEMIKEA, Tsuk Gallery, Netanya

Mind the Heart, The Container, Tel Aviv
Sea Breeze, Artist Residency, Bat Yam

On the Fence #2, Jaffa
Mind the Heart, Dining Room, Tel Aviv
Ward Nasse, Ward Nasse Gallery, New York

​2010      

Cannons & Muses, Tama University of Art, Tokyo
de:frost Festival, Jerusalem

​2009      

Biennial #2, Herzliya

Secret Art #4, Beit Mani, Tel Aviv
Love Art Make Art, Open Studio, Tel Aviv

Tan, P8 Gallery, Tel Aviv
1.2.3.4 I Declare an Art War, Shorashim Gallery

White Trash, Tel Aviv

​2008      

It’s a Small Big World, Tel Aviv Museum of Art

​​2005-2007  

Designers of the Future, Tel Aviv, Reading Power Station

International Woman’s Day, Tel Aviv University

Dialogue, Tzavta Theater, Tel Aviv

 

Collaborations & Public Actions (under Mind the Heart! Project)

2022   

SEED, Rosa Foundation, Artist Residency, Krakow, Poland

Looking at Place, Katzman Contemporary, Dover, NH, USA

O/Art, fundraiser for Ukraine, Atlanta-Chattanoga, TN & GA, USA          

2021   

Introduce Yourself, Kliger Gallery, Lund, Sweden

2019   

The Poland Project, Sichow Foundation, Artist Residency, Krakow, Poland

2018

New Poetics of Labor, Al camello camello y al amor amor, Espacio, Medellín, Colombia

MTH! in D.C. at By The People Arts Festival (Smisthonian, National Cathedral, Union Market,

~ Walter Reed & The Arc West, Washington, D.C.)

Bodies of Water, Site specific piece in the University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR

The Spaces Between #1, JCC, Foster City, CA, USA

The Spaces Between #2, PJCC, San Rafael, CA, USA

MTH! in Houston, at the City Hall & Brown Convention Center, Houston, TX

Towards One: Site specific, permanent piece in Building 98, Marfa, TX

2017

Be Here Now, Site specific, permanent piece in Creative Discovery Museum, Chattanooga, TN

MTH! in Hillary R. Clinton Library, Little Rock, AR

MTH! in Atlanta, at The Decatur Art Alliance, Decatur, GA

MTH! in Apopka, at the HCC, Apopka, FL

MTH! in Portsmouth, at Prescott Park & 3S Gallery, Portsmouth, NH

MTH! in Tel Aviv, Pilot for USA Tour at Beit Tami, Tel Aviv, Israel

Publications and Books

2022      Book, "Unravelling Women’s Art" by PL Henderson, England

2018      Book, "Al camello camello y al amor amor" by Cristina Velásquez, Colombia

2016      Book, "Wall, wall" by Dominque Lafon, France

2015      Book, "Street Messages" by Nicholas Ganz, Germany

2013      TEDx TLV Talk: "Creating out of not knowing" - the creation of SPARK Solo Exhibition >> to see the talk 

Press & selected articles: www.mayagelfman.com/press

Collections

Historic Building 98. Marfa TX, USA

Creative Discovery Museum, Chattanooga TN, USA

MILU Art Hotel, Florence, Italy

Herzliya Municipal Library, Israel

Lettenmayer & partners, Czech Republic

Goldman, Erlich, Gaver, Edelstein & Co. Law, Israel

M & M. Schmitz, private collection, Austria

R. Saker, private collection, Israel

B. Landa, private collection, Isarel

Hagit Bornstein private collection, Israel

C. Ilan private collection, Israel

A. Rosenfelder, private collection, Israel

K. Damon, private collection, D.C. USA

A. Center, private collection, TN, USA

A. Lapointe, private collection, NH, USA

T. Grayevsky, private collection, WA, USA

O. Shatil, private collection

O. S. Ben Sahar, private collection

S. Weil, private collection, Israel

S. Sternbach, private collection, Israel

J. Smouha, private collection, Israel

Karni-Cohen, private collection, TLV – London

H. Sanders, private collection, CA, USA

J. Raus, private collection, FL, USA

A. Harris, private collection, Israel

M. Nevo-Epelbaum, private collection, Israel

R. Alcalay, private collection, Israel

C. Reichenberg, private collection, Israel

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