Yellow Scatter, 2021, Diluted acrylic and mixed media
on canvas, 20 x 24 in.

Blossoms And Thorns, 2021, Diluted acrylic and mixed media
on canvas, 20 x 16 in.

Spread, 2021, Diluted acrylic and mixed media on canvas, 48 x 60 in.

Rosy Glow, 2021, Diluted acrylic and mixed media
on canvas, 24 x 20 in.

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Rotem Reshef

New York

I use waste vegetation (branches, petals, ferns, leaves etc.), collected in the streets, parks and elsewhere in the urban surroundings, and imprint these “relics” onto my canvases, in a technique that resembles photograms. By creating these fossil-like ghostly compositions that range from abstractions to more representational figurations, my work alludes to forms of life that existed in the world, and are no longer with us, but that get “a second chance” or a “second life cycle” via my artistic process. Following the idea behind Ecofeminism, my paintings offer an option for healing and recovery to “dead” and neglected materials, and indirectly to our world of mass consumption and the chase after the “next best thing.” My artistic practice offers “Tikkun,” a Jewish term for Correction, suggesting an additional chance to what had been thrown away from our society's circulation, and is being brought back via my artistic exploration.

   - Excerpt from artist statement

Click works to the left (on desktop) or below (on mobile) to view full-screen.︎    @rotem__reshef︎


What attracts you to the use of plant materials, especially with the knowledge that the materials you are using are no longer alive?

I am coming from a family with a botanical background, and have always been fascinated by flora and vegetation. In recent years my interest in “underrated” materials grew, and I started collecting waste vegetation, while seeing it as an incredible tool both artistically and conceptually. I use it to create intricate patterns, and also to comment on climate change and our role in protecting the environment. Giving a “second chance” to these materials allows them  to “live again”, through art.

Can you describe how your practice incorporates Tikkun, or the concept of Correction?

Tikkun is a Jewish idea that recognizes the need to heal, and acknowledges that improvement is a work in progress, for ourselves and for the broader community and world. Tikkun means “Fixing” or “Mending”, and in my work I refer to it from an Ecofeminist point of view, claiming that we should nourish and nurture our surroundings constantly, and not just exploit it for our own personal benefit.

Each one of us is a tiny part of a larger ecosystem, and together we can heal our environment. Of course, these are endless efforts that cross generations and geographies, and I am contributing my part by emphasizing the important potential of “reviving” what seemed to be dead, and enhancing the close-dependence between humans and nature.

When you think of ‘environment,’ what does that bring to mind? How does it relate to your work?

When I think of “environment” - people, places, memories, views, interactions, smells and tastes come to mind. When I zoom out from my immediate location - my home, my studio - I engage with what’s around me - the streets, the urban landscape, the memories embedded in places, in kinds of vegetation that I encounter and remember from other times and places. Environment is our social and cultural habitat, who we surround ourselves with, how we treat each other and care for one another, but also care about those we don’t know, that are linked to us in invisible bonds.

When painting or creating a site specific installation, I try to bring an essence of an environment to the space, so the viewer becomes part of the larger context, to both my own ideas and to the way they project on the larger fabric of shared experiences.