Landscapes of unseen reality
The freedom of abstraction ushered new ways of perception. The work of women abstract expressionist painters in the art world was new and refreshing. The history of these paintings demonstrate an interesting use of color, space, movement and emotion.
From looking at the works of Ella BenAmi, We are able to better understand the ways in which these women perceived the world and were inherently intuitive. So abstract expressionism was an effort to reclaim a freedom and move away from the burden of representation.
Most abstract artists are in the quest for a new reality, a spiritual and physical liberation from the burden of representation. A romance with the unpredictable. The passion for the unknown infinite reality, The pigment was rolled and manipulated with ease and spontaneity. The gesture of the hand did not leave traces but reveled sedimentation with colors of the sea.
Ella’s works stems from her subconscious. It is a liquid space that is primordial. The ambiguous nature of the work has multiple interpretations of abstraction or a reality that is not visible to the naked eye .The canvas explodes into new kaleidoscopic visions of infinite possibilities of abstract permutations and combinations of casein based pigment in a play of light and color overlapping to represent visions of infinite space, structured with graphic shafts of light caught between the polarities of stillness and movement. Transcendental invocations of minimal geometry and spatial dimensions.
Ella layers pigment and overlaps it with her gestures. Her expressionistic strokes inscribe calligraphic, hieroglyph notations on the surface. This is superimposed by a dominant color that reveals fragments of light.
The artist travels from the terrestrial to an inward journey or a meditative mantra of self Absorption. A private getaway from the humdrum of the urban chaos, into silence and solitude and monologues with colors, gestures and surface. As these accomplished practitioners transcend and renew themselves by mutating and surviving in the divergent space, negotiating the metaphysical and indulging in aesthetic innovations.
Suresh Jayaram 1Shanthi Road Art Center Gallery 2014
Ella Benami’s vaporous and sensual abstractions are descended from mid-twentieth century Abstract Expressionism. They propel this tradition into a new iteration that insinuates a post-historic consciousness. Her works might be viewed as cosmic and primordial blueprints of instinct, emotion and material form. They are informed by her spiritual beliefs and her world view.
Benami was raised in Israel in a secular Jewish tradition. She later studied Asian philosophy, lived in India for period of time and in the United States for a period of ten years. She studied art at the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C. The many and varied strains of her life have collated to create a cosmopolitan artist who is cross cultural and non-traditional/non-religious.
Through her art she attempts to capture the essence of the spiritual dimension of our existence. She states that “Psychic/spiritual life has to occur somewhere. There has to be an arena where all of this drama actually takes place. The limitations of third dimensional perspective prevent us from perceiving, understanding and observing our own spiritual lives.” In her paintings, Ella Benami confronts the challenge of documenting or portraying these internal environments.
In her simulation of these internal environments, Benami assumes/becomes a lens which implies an existence or presence within these arenas, as though she was transported through the mechanisms of her mind or through dematerialization to these higher dimensions and is seeing them from within. There is a call in these paintings to go back and search for lost kingdoms of ours.
Bill Lowe Gallery 2011
LOOKING WITHIN AND WITHOUT
By Jayanthi Madhukar, Bangalore Mirror Bureau | Feb 17, 2014
Israeli artist Ella Ben Ami hopes viewers will look at her works and see the bigger picture, quite literally, without chasing any dogmas
Israeli artist Ella Ben Ami prefers it if viewers do not try and pick out random objects from her huge abstract works. "Each artwork has to be viewed in its entirety," she says of her works displayed in her first Indian art show, Stems and Strains.
Ami is not new to the country as she has visited it several times with her Indian husband. Currently, she lives in the city and has been engaging with the art community here. When she showed a few of her works to Suresh Jayaram, he was intrigued enough to go to her home studio to check her large format works. Cop Shiva, an artist closely associated with the art residency says, "We are normally wary of giving our space to non-resident foreign artists, but we are making an exception in the case of Ella."
In the gallery of 1 Shanthiroad, her works are conspicuous and that is precisely what Ami wants. A trained musician and vocalist who has been writing music and poetry since she was 14, Ami discovered a reluctance to be on stage. "I didn't like performing on the stage. So, when I moved to the US in 2001, I explored different mediums before deciding to paint. My works can handle the spotlight better than me," she laughs. Incidentally, she has established several music groups with whom she performed throughout Israel.
The seven large format works fall in the genre of abstract expressionism, says Ami, or at least, that's what Western viewers have said. Having trained at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, Washington D.C., her area of specialty is abstract painting. "My abstracts have several layers, often about 10 layers, that are developed one upon the other," she explains. Both opaque and transparent layers are worked upon systematically to evolve as one whole. "The Indian connoisseur is not too familiar with this genre," says Ami, but she advises to viewers to look at the works of her inspirations like Mark Rothko to gain an idea of this form.
Apart from the large format works, there is an installation of nine small format works that are put up together. "These works resonate with each other," she says. Words like resonate, meditate, existence, dogma come up very often in Ami's conversations. She waxes about Eastern philosophy and the fact that quite a few people from her country have visited ashrams in North India to study Vipassana. "There is enormous interest in it," she says adding that her works could be called representations of meditative process and spiritual search. And it is this inclination towards the "non-physical aspect" of life that makes her chosen colour palette ethereal. There are blues, greens and greys in the works that seem to swirl from within towards out or, as the artist says, vice versa. "My works draw on a broad spectrum of perceptions and beliefs that I have developed over the course of my life." These beliefs are related to areas such as Quantum physics, Gestalt psychology and Jungian psychology, as well as Buddhism and Taoism.
Ami finds it hard to narrow down the context of the show. The works cluster around the desire to illustrate the infinite mutual relationships between the visible world and that operating underneath the surface of things, and to demonstrate the dependence between the mental concept and its material realisation, is the best she can do.
"People will understand words like spiritualism better, is it not?" she asks. According to her, Indian artists tend to express their spiritualism with their works. Of all the artists in India, she relates to the works of Anish Kapoor best saying that his installations reflect a thinking in line with her own.
But admitting that an abstract work is open to interpretations, she feels that her works will be able to draw viewers into them and look at works in multiple ways "from sideways to within to without." And if a viewer asks 'Is that an eye?' when viewing one of her untitled works, she gently cajoles them to stand away from the work and see it in entirety.