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STUDIO STORIES 2020

STUDIO STORIES 2020 is a collection of short interviews with artists who have been making contemporary work during the Covid 19 pandemic. It introduces readers to the ways in which artists continue to create and adapt their practice today.
curated BY Lilach Schrag

ABOUT STUDIO STORIES 2020 - As the global health pandemic changed artists' lives and practice, Chicago-based artist Lilach Schrag found herself drawn to stories of how artists were adapting to lockdown and the new reality. The result is Lilach's curated presentation "Studio Stories 2020", hosted by Kol HaOt. "When I realized it would be impossible to have my scheduled June residency at Kol HaOt's gallery in Jerusalem, I reached out instead to colleagues and friends around the world who make contemporary art and started collecting their stories. I asked them to provide a glimpse into their mission, their methods, and their hearts. They spoke about their work, altered daily routines, challenging moments, uplifting realizations, and the ways in which they continue to create and adjust their practice during the pandemic. Individually, from their homes and their studios, they tell fascinating stories with thoughtful words and beautiful artwork. Collectively, they offer a snapshot of artists responding to the unprecedented reality of our time.” – Lilach Schrag, 2020

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ken goldman

KEN GOLDMAN HAS BEEN EXPLORING RELIGIOUS SOURCES AND CREATING ART WITH TIMELESS UNIVERSAL THEMES FOR OVER TWO DECADES. SUBJECTS OF PERSONAL AND PUBLIC NATURE SUCH AS FAITH, GENDER, COMMUNITY, OTHERNESS, AND MORTALITY ARE BUT SOME OF THE ISSUES HE HAS ENGAGED IN HIS ART. KEN LIVES AND WORKS ON KIBBUTZ SHLUCHOT WHERE HE HAS BEEN A MEMBER FOR OVER 30 YEARS.

Stay At Home, 2020

Overweight - carved stone, found vintage tin immigrant suitcase, and digitally printed fabric, 2020

Having been born and raised in a Modern Orthodox and traditional lifestyle and continued that lifestyle until today, Jewish art is just part of my natural creative process.
Synagogue, Jewish tradition, religious issues, Jewish law, stories, history, Israel - all come together somewhere in my brain and are often a framework I use to express greater “universal issues” such as, gender inequality, racism, colonialism, migrants, displacement, alternative narratives, climate change, aging, who was here before me, etc.
So despite my portfolio, I don’t think of myself as a "Jewish Artist" but certainly an artist who "mines” the Jewish world texts to express myself in a way that I hope is open to people of all walks of life.
I never think about working with different materials in a conscious way- not sure I even have a “happy place” of techniques or materials that I turn to.
Mostly I have an idea - something I feel compelled to explore. I always start out with some thumbnail sketches. These develop into more complete drawings, move on to a 3d solution, or just end up as sketches or drawings.
I look around my studio right now and I see that in the last three months since the pandemic started, I have been:
  • PRINTMAKING
  • SKETCHING
  • COLLAGING
  • STONE CARVING
  • WOODCARVING
  • ASSEMBLING CARPENTRY
This is a bit crazy perhaps, but it keeps me from getting caught up in a rut. The challenge of learning how to work with new materials, and at times even failing, seems to keep me moving forward.
Pandemic Fossil - Glove - carved local stone, 2020
Here on the kibbutz where I live, in our little corner of the "garden of eden", It may have taken a bit longer than in the “real world” to realize we were experiencing a real pandemic.
I panicked, but not from fear of getting sick. For the first time in my adult life I was now “free” from my daily workload. Perhaps naively, I felt pressure to really take advantage of this unique stay-close-to-home opportunity.
Can I really dedicate myself to my art process?
Taking a hint from De Foe and his "Journal of the Plague Year" - I started a “Pandemic Journal” which I worked on daily, and a second sketchbook of projects I would attack as soon as leaving the home was allowed!

HAVING MY STUDIO SO CLOSE TO MY HOME REALLY WAS A BLESSING!! I HAVE SPENT SO MANY DAYLIGHT HOURS IN IT, AND AS A MORNING PERSON IT WAS REALLY A UNIQUE CHANCE FOR ME.

I am feeling pretty good about what I accomplished and if not for the fears of sickness to myself and others, I could use another couple of months of stay near home to finish some of the projects in my sketchbook!!

Its For The Birds, 2020

Created By
Lilach Schrag
Appreciate

Credits:

"Overweight" photos are by Yair Medina of Jerusalem Fine Art Prints. All other images are courtesy of the artist.