Art at Henkin Gallery of Design 370.
(photo credit: courtesy PR)
Last weekend, in preparation for Holon’s design week, which will take place
during Passover, the Henkin Gallery of Design revealed a new exhibition by
Israeli sculptor Ruti Banai. The event coincided with several other openings by
local artists in a variety of areas such as lighting design, painting and
Banai’s exhibition, entitled Tangled Expression, is a
collection of pieces using a wide range of materials. The connecting thread
among all of Banai’s works, whether they are lamps, ceramics or wall hangings,
is the evolution from industrial to natural. In Banai’s capable hands, the
sharpest piece of copper wire turns soft, evoking blowing leaves or the finest
“I like to take something wild, raw, and bring it
to a different place that will be quieter, more delicate, more moving. To give
the material a different translation,” she said in a recent interview with The
Born and raised on Kibbutz Dafna, Banai’s affinity for
flora and fauna has been with her since an early age. While her
profession rooted her in the somewhat less green surroundings of Tel Aviv,
Banai’s eye remains trained on nature.
“There is no doubt that the fact
that I grew up in nature is part of my art,” she said. “Someone once told me
that it makes the desire to create stronger because there is something missing
in the city. For me, nature is missing for me in the city. However, there is
growth in Tel Aviv if you look closely.”
The lion’s share of Banai’s
professional life was spent as a graphic designer. In her work, Banai had
first-hand experience with the transition from tangible to digital.
more I used a computer, the more I felt drawn to make something with materials,”
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As a hobby, Banai and her daughter would dabble with arts and
crafts, exploring shapes and images.
Then, in a workshop with artist
Meirav Shin Ben-Alon, lightning struck.
“I found myself in the swell of
creations,” she remembered. “After that I found myself really drawn to
continue to work with this technique, that I created on my own in that workshop.
It was fascinating, to reach a whole world of images using only paper and wire.
They were my first pieces in design or art.”
Since that momentous day in
Ben-Alon’s studios, Banai has established herself as a unique voice in the
Her pieces have been shown in galleries around the
country such as the Seam Gallery in Moshav Mogadim, Gallerina in Bat Shlomo and
the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv.
Over the years, the torn bits of
paper and strands of wire were joined by masking tape, clay, light bulbs,
telephone wire and rubber. Banai’s techniques stretched and adapted depending on
“Every material, because of its nature and techniques,
leads to a new place. The three-dimensional nature I found with clay gave me the
idea to try to create the same dimensions in paper. I love to play with how one
material can inspire work in another material,” she said.
Many of Banai’s
pieces begin with a photograph. On her many walks through the streets, Banai is
always aware of the inner life bursting through the concrete. A selection of
these pictures is currently on display as part of Tangled Expression
. These are
the images that propel her into the studio.
“I photograph a lot of
plants. Often I see ideas of design in nature. I don’t want to photograph a
flower or a tree, and I like to look at wild growth, dried plants, and sections
of a tree or the shapes of branches. I see them through a design eye and
then I try to give them a translation in sculpture. There are unlimited
designs that are present in everything in front of me,” she
explained.Tangled Expression will be open through the month of April.
The Henkin Gallery of Design is located at 109 Henkin Street in Holon.
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