A mixed bag at the Artists House

The Jerusalem Artists House is currently running five shows.

yehudayan 88 (photo credit: )
yehudayan 88
(photo credit: )
There are five shows running concurrently at the Jerusalem Artists House. In the main gallery, Robert Azoff (b. USA 1946, here since 1971) shows a large number of same format photographs of details of walls, windows and railings in Neve Zedek, without making any attempt to describe the area. Instead Azoff concentrates on making compositions of things as ephemeral as shadows. There's an identical "soft" finish to all the prints that is both pleasant and boring. Try and take them one at a time. Yochai Bar-On (b. Kibbutz Gal-On, 1956) shows large woodcuts of children who were his peers, all derived directly from photographs in the kibbutz archive. Their body language and expressions may tell the kibbutzniks something about their past, but the uninvolved visitor will be left only with a judgement on the value of the woodcut itself. In two other galleries, Yosef Schlein (b. Israel 1933), a professor of medical entomology, shows his bronze figures of men and in one of the galleries, horses, riders and even centaurs. Schlein has a trademark: Most of his figures are composed of a head and limbs; in some cases the arms are bent back and transmogrified into wings, while the centaurs are in the form of the back of a chair. Schlein does not go into details and his minimalist impressions retain a certain charm. Several of the horse and rider works appear to have resulted from a long look at those of the late Marino Marini, who spent decades mining this theme. In the mezzanine gallery are a host of carefully delineated watercolors by veteran Shlomo Yehudayan, this time all seemingly painted from photographs. How else to explain their astonishing accuracy, as in the panoramic view of the rooftops of Abu Ghosh? Yehudayan, after over half a century of working in this unforgiving medium, gets everything right by planning every move and layer of wash in advance. Every tonal balance is carefully controlled. There is no messiness nor muddle. Some foreground details may even be sharpened with a ruler. On the other hand, there's a certain lack of excitement usually inherent in this get-it-right-first-go medium. The most visually exciting works are the colorful rows of moored boats. Down in the entrance gallery is a conceptual presentation by Kalisher graduate Keren-Marie Sellam (b. Israel 1978), with photographs of details of a bridal veil and a video of scarified flesh, the weals spelling Je t'aime (I love you). All shows run until February 25.