Maya Gelfman (born 1978, Israel) is a visual artist. Her main mediums are installation, painting and street-art. A graduate of the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in 2006, she’s since had seven solo exhibitions. The latest at the National Art Gallery, Bangkok and the 8th one is upcoming this coming fall in Vienna, Austria.
Group exhibitions include: Israel National Museum, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Haifa Museum of Art, The Herzliya Biennial, Overture Art Fair (Art Basel Miami), Tama University of Art (Tokyo), Ward Nasse Gallery (New York) and Art Rooms (London).
Since 2009 she is also an active figure in the global street-art scene, where she is best known for her tangible work and the unique technique of drawing with yarn on walls. In 2015 Paper Magazine named her among the top ten street-artists in Israel, and her works were featured in international art books in Germany and France.
Gelfman has a collaborative public-art project called *Mind the Heart! (see info below).
* MTH! Project is a collaboration by Roie Avidan & Maya Gelfman. It started in 2009 in the streets of Tel Aviv. In the past decade, the project has reached more than 100 cities across 5 continents. The project strives to get audiences to BE HERE NOW through tangible street installations and public interactions. The project worked in dozens of venues, from the Israel National Museum and the National Cathedral in D.C. to back alleys in New York and orphanages in Kenya and Uganda.
To name a few: City of Houston TX, Washington National Cathedral D.C., The Smithsonian D.C., Rice University TX, Hillary Clinton Children's Library in Little Rock AR, Building 98 in Marfa TX, Creative Discovery Museum TN.
CV & Resume
Born 1978, lives and works in Israel
Shenkar Academy, BA in visual communication
Outside looking in, National Art Gallery, Bangkok, Curator: Rattapong
Split Ends, Tel Aviv Artist House. Curator: Raz Samira
Spark, Zadik Gallery, Jaffa, curator: Hana Coman
Process, Tel Aviv City Municipality Arts and Culture division, curator: Maayan Nevo
Rise!, Tsuk Gallery, Netanya, curator: Maya Kashevitz
Heartbeats, Weiss House, Tel Aviv, curators: Vera Pilpoul and Hagit Burnstein
Strings, Artists House, Tel Aviv, curator: Orly Hoffman
Selected Group Exhibitions
ARTROOMS, Meliá White House, London England
Radical Love, Crypt Gallery, London England
Wire/less Connections, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, curator: Daniella Shalev
Vitrinart, The Tel-Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, curator: Dana Gilerman
Grand Opening, Milu Gallery Hotel, Florence Italy
Street Art, The Israeli Children’s Museum, Holon
Hamekarer, The Old Wholesale Marketplace, Tel Aviv
S2G, kulturkueche, Monchengladbach, curator: Silke Muller
Temporary Crew, St.Art Gallery, Tel Aviv, curator: Nitzan Mintz
Slideluck III, Tel Aviv, curators: Casey Kelbaugh and Ari Fruchter
Launching Meshuna, Meshuna Gallery, Tel Aviv, curators: Oren Fischer and Anton Avramov
Testing Tools Festival #10, Beit Tami, Tel Aviv, curator: Carmit Blumenzon
Note to Selves, Container, Jaffa port, curators: Maya Gelfman, Adi Reznick and Gidi Gilam
7F, 7th Floor,Tel Aviv, curators: Mati Ale and Oz Madar
Base Colors #1, Israel-Lebanon border, Activism Art event at IDF military bases, curator: Oren Fischer
Heroes in Distress, Art Basel, Miami, Overture/Scope art fair, curators: Craig Dershowitz and Rei Dishon
Once I was a House, art event, Caesarea, curators: Sharonna Karni Cohen, Sophie Green, Deborah Shahar
Small Scale - 20\20, Zadik Gallery, Tel Aviv, curator: Hana Coman
Creation Cycle, Hangar 2, Jaffa Port, curator: Gil Zeevi
Free Art Friday, Tel Aviv, curator: Uri Yariv
Spring Festival, Shapira Neighbourhood, Tel Aviv, curator: Noam Wenkert
Base Colors #2, Israel-Syria border, Activism Art event at IDF military bases, curator: Oren Fischer
Love Art Make Art, Open Studio, Tel Aviv, curator: Maayan Nevo
Haifa Walks, Haifa Museum of Art, curator: Ruti Direktor
ZEMIKEA, Tsuk Gallery, Netanya, curator: Maya Kashevitz
Mind the Heart, The Container, Tel Aviv, curator: Maya Gelfman
Sea Breeze, Artist Residency, Bat Yam, curator: Adi Yekutieli
On the Fence #2, Tel Aviv, curator: Shunit Gal
Mind the Heart, Dining Room, Tel Aviv, curator: Itamar Faluja
Ward Nasse, Ward Nasse Gallery, New York, curator: Harry Nasse
Cannons & Muses, Tama University of Art, Tokyo, Curators: Sakiko Yamaoka and Premshay Hermon
de:frost Festival, Jerusalem, curators: Hila Vugman and Naama Israel
Biennial #2, Herzliya, curators: Adi Englman, Meir Kordevani and Toony navok
Secret Art #4, Beit Mani, Tel Aviv, curators: Amir Polak and Esti Drori
Love Art Make Art, Open Studio, Tel Aviv, curator: Maayan Nevo
Tan, P8 Gallery, Tel Aviv, curators: Anna Bershtansky and Rakefet Viner Omer
188.8.131.52 I Declare an Art War, Shorashim Gallery, Tel Aviv, curator: Shiran Shafir
White Trash, Tel Aviv, curators: Amanda Mehl, Inbal Limor and shameless
It’s a Small Big World, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, curator: Sara Raiman
Designers of the Future, Tel Aviv, Reading Power Station, curators: Israel Designers Organization
International Woman’s Day, Tel Aviv University
Dialogue, Tzavta Theater, Tel Aviv, curator: Shachar Kober
Publications and Books
Book, "Street Messages" by Nicholas Ganz, Germany
Book, "Wall, wall" by Dominque Lafon, France
TEDx TLV Talk: "Creating out of not knowing" - the creation of SPARK Solo Exhibition
ARTiculAction, 23.3.16, Dario Rutigliano (London) Barbara Scott (San Francisco)
iTravel-TLV, 3.2.16, Nechama Winston (NYC)
Paper Magazine, 15.5.15, Nneya Richards (NYC)
Suitcase Magazine, 28.4.15, Alexander Moussaieff (London)
10 minutes, on the Israeli channel 1 (PBS)
Jerusalem Post, 8.12.13, Dominique Ariel Hendelman
Time Out Tel Aviv, 28.11.13, Lee Feller
Juedische Allgemeine, Germany 17.1.13, Sabine Brandes
Ma'ariv, 18.3.12, Ruti Kadosh
Globes, G Magazine, 13.1.12, Roy Beit Levy, Merav Zachs
Goldman, Erlich, Gaver, Edelstein & Co. Law Offices
Rivka Saker private collection
Patti and Benny Landa private collection
Hagit Bornstein private collection
Amina Harris private collection
Maayan Nevo-Epelbaum private collection
Oded Shatil private collection
Omer Shani private collection
Revital and Ran Alcalay collection
Sandra Weil private collection
Sivan Sternbach private collection
Anthony Rosenfelder private collection
Jeremy and Sabine Smouha private collection
Karni-Cohen private collection
Herzliya Municipal Library
When I was four years old, I had a near death experience while having an open heart surgery.
My heart stopped beating, my body temperature went low, a heart-lung machine kept me alive.
Coming back from that threshold, I knew that opposites are bound together and that I encompass both.
It left me fascinated with edges and yearning for meaning.
My work is born from that same simultaneous sense of vertigo and stability. It deals with dichotomies that stem from a personal history but aims to reflect a wider observation on the world. A realization that one reality can embody many and there is no one definition. The truth is endlessly evolving and expanding.
I examine the impact of traumas and how formidable forces shape mankind, since the dawn of time, specifically women-kind. I would argue that the familiar existential struggle against "larger-than-life" events and external powers is essentially an internal one. Through my practice I’m trying to reconcile conflicts and contradictions such as beauty that encompasses crudeness, weakness as a source of strength and disillusionment that feeds conscious innocence.
I strive to weave together past, present and future. But more than a coherent story I’m fascinated with transformation and the process itself. The works are an embroidery of a new mythology in which I am both myself and a representation of femininity. I perceive a studio as a cross between a womb and a lab.
In that physical and metaphysical space I mix medias, fragments of visions and schooled thought. And like an intense ritual I find myself in a Sisyphean pursuit to enable for something new to occur - symbolically, conceptually and tangibly.
Above it all, it’s not about me. I have a distinct feeling that there is something beyond me, a life force, which I can’t put into words but I can channel into art. To that I am forever committed.
An introduction to the body of work:
The early works (“Red Heart”, 2007-09) are naïve drawings of bodies and situations, subtle yet disturbing. Minimalist figures floating in white space.
With time, layers appear (“Illusions & Reality”, 2010-13). Through intricate drawings and installations
I struggle to weave together the past, present and future. In recent years I’m fascinated with transformation (“Release”, 2014-19).
The Sisyphean process evolved to a new set of rules, which dictates different materials, gestures and speed.
The new paintings are large and expressive, made in one continuous session, like an intense ritual.
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