Maya Gelfman (born 1978, Israel) is a multidisciplinary artist, working at the seam between painting, installation and street-art.
A graduate of Shenkar College of Art & Design, in 2006, she’s since had eight solo exhibitions. The Ninth will open on October 20th, 2022 in Vienna, Austria. Gelfman has also participated in numerous group exhibitions. Among others, at the Israel National Museum, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Haifa Museum of Art, The National Gallery in Bangkok, Art Rooms Art Fair in London, Art Basel Miami, Tama University of Art in Tokyo and in the Smithsonian and the National Cathedral, Washington D.C. USA (As a part of By of the People Art Festival).
Her works were featured in the media, both in print and online, as well as in films and on TV. They were published in four art books: in Germany, France, Colombia, U.S.A and England. In 2013 Gelfman gave a TEDx talk about her artistic process, sharing the stage with Tel Aviv’s prominent women leaders.
She’s also a well-known street-artist. Her unique technique of drawing on walls with tangible materials (yarn, foam, duct-tape) is her signature.
In 2015 Paper Magazine named her among the top ten street-artists in Israel. Back in 2009 Gelfman co-founded a street-art project called Mind the Heart!, with her partner, Roie Avidan. Since then it reached over 100 cities across 5 continents.
In 2017 Gelfman & Avidan embarked on The Serendipity Experiment - a 365/24/7 performance in public.
Their aim was to create works that are informed by the “here and now” – reflecting the influence of a certain place, time and of the people there.
For this purpose, they committed to the unknown as their guiding artistic tool, by relinquishing control. They donated all their belongings, moved to live in a van in a foreign country, and asked strangers to dictate their route, schedule and next encounters. At each point they were sent to, they created a public work. The experiment was planned to last one year but ended up lasting four, spanning more than 100,000 km (60,000 miles),
in 45 states across the U.S.A. as well as other countries.
My work deals with trauma and its’ presence of in our lives. The physical and emotional impacts of trauma are heartbreakingly omnipresent
in our culture, as individuals and as societies, but I ask myself: can they also serve as a beneficial catalyst as well? A gateway to profound realizations having to do with power and choice?
Dealing with trauma began from a personal history. As a child, I lived through a near death experience while undergoing an open-heart surgery.
My heart stopped beating, my body’s temperature went low, and a machine kept me alive. Experiencing the visceral connection between life
and death informs the way I work today.
My works investigate the way external forces shape inner worlds. I create meeting points for dichotomies - beauty that encompasses crudeness, weakness as a source of strength. By juxtaposing seemingly opposing ideas I search for balance, release and healing.
Symbiosis is at the root of my practice, drawing upon schooled and automatic thought, ancient mythology, and contemporary culture.
It is also what facilitated the decision to work with three mediums in two parallel fields - ‘white cubes’ and public spaces.
My installations are large, handmade with tangible materials, the paintings are mixed-media and the public interventions are created as a performative action.
Breakdown of series:
The early Paintings ("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.
In these years I practiced a slow Sisyphean process, in which I was working for months on each piece.
Then a change took place, and my practice shifted into a dance-like rituals. ("Release", 2014-2016). These paintings were done in one continuous session. Each session took between a day to three days of working continuously.
Between 2017-2021 I immersed my life and art in an experimental performance, along with my partner. Together we traveled across the USA,
for 4 years, 100,000 km (60,000 miles) creating site-specific works in public spaces. These years herald another big shift in my practice.
Currently, I’m back at the studio, working on a new series of paintings ("The Unimaginable Horizon", 2021-2023).
Informed by living and working on the road for five years, of which two in the pandemic. At least as impactful was dedicating myself to “the unknown” as an artistic practice for those five years. It changed the way I perceive stability, home, possessions, necessity. It altered the way I live and, subsequently, create. To find out more please visit: Mind the Heart! Project
My new works are abstract, after years of creating figuratively. A transition that correlates to the profound changes in my life mentioned above.
These paintings deal with disintegration and reassembly and can be read as It can be read as a form of cartography, maps to the subconscious, to hidden places, blocked paths, and new roads.
CV & Resume
Born in 1978, Israel
2001-2006, graduated with a BA from Shenkar College
Mediums: Painting, Installation, Street-art
Website: www.mayagelfman.com / Email: email@example.com
The Unimaginable Horizon, AG18 Gallery, Vienna, curator: Dr. Michael Schmitz
Form, Re-Form, AG18 Gallery, Vienna, curator: Dr. Michael Schmitz
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
Metamorphosis: The Place of the Past in the Present, CITYarts, Orlando, FL, USA
ARTROOMS, Meliá White House, London England
Radical Love, Crypt Gallery, London England
Wire/less Connections, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Vitrinart, The Tel-Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv
Grand Opening, Milu Gallery Hotel, Florence Italy
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
Slideluck III, Tel Aviv
Launching Meshuna, Meshuna Gallery, Tel Aviv
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
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
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
Cannons & Muses, Tama University of Art, Tokyo
de:frost Festival, Jerusalem
Biennial #2, Herzliya
Secret Art #4, Beit Mani, Tel Aviv
Love Art Make Art, Open Studio, Tel Aviv
Tan, P8 Gallery, Tel Aviv
22.214.171.124 I Declare an Art War, Shorashim Gallery
White Trash, Tel Aviv
It’s a Small Big World, Tel Aviv Museum of Art
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)
TBD, ONKAF foundation, New Delhi, India
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
Introduce Yourself, Kliger Gallery, Lund, Sweden
The Poland Project, Sichow Foundation, Artist Residency, Krakow, Poland
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
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, Aurora Metro books, England
2018 Book, "Al camello camello y al amor amor" by Cristina Velásquez, NPOL, Colombia
2016 Book, "Wall, wall" by Dominque Lafon, France
2015 Book, "Street Messages" by Nicholas Ganz, Dokument Press, Germany
2013 TEDx TLV Talk: "Creating out of not knowing"- the creation of SPARK Solo Exhibition >> to see the talk
* Curitorial texts: www.mayagelfman.com/curatorial-texts
Press & selected articles: www.mayagelfman.com/press
Artists of the season, at the Core Dance Company, Atlanta, USA (April-May 2023)
TBA, at the Swatch Art Peace Hotel Residency, Shanghai, China (2023)
No time to loose & SEED, at the Roza Center for International and Interdisciplinary Art, Krakow, Poland (2022)
The Poland Project, at the Sichow Foundation, Krakow, Poland (2019)
Historic Building 98. Marfa TX, USA
Creative Discovery Museum, Chattanooga TN, USA
Lettenmayer & partners, Czech Republic
MILU Art Hotel, Florence, Italy
Magdas Hotel, Vienna, Austria
Herzliya Municipal Library, Israel
* A list of private collections will be given upon request.
>> back to Home