Heddy Abramowitz
Artist Living in the Eye of the Storm

Reaching a Cross Point: Solo Exhibit at Artists’ House Tel Aviv

Because we are in election season, the idea of a time being a crossing-point is ever more significant.  Cross Point is my current solo exhibit now being shown at the Artists’ House in Tel Aviv.

Shadow Couple 20 x 30 cm oil on canvas © 2015 by Heddy Abramowitz
Shadow Couple 20 x 30 cm oil on canvas © 2015 by Heddy Abramowitz

The exhibit includes selected drawings and paintings spanning a 19-year period during which I explored the presence of rhythm in my work, curated by artist Shimon Pinto.

I think for myself, it was satisfying to see the long development over time come together to create a body of work, one that was interrupted many times and for long stretches during its creation, yet still was cohesive as a single body of work. The factor of time in the development of art is something that is less-valued in today’s world, where instant everything is at our fingertips. Yet, in terms of development, time takes its own course, it cannot be rushed and will eventually, with great perseverance factor into the art, in an almost subconscious way if we just let it. No amount of anxiousness will bring about that result.

Temima, Violinist Series graphite on Arches paper 37 x 45 cm 26.4.95 © 2015 by Heddy Abramowitz
Temima, Violinist Series graphite on Arches paper 37 x 45 cm © 2015 by Heddy Abramowitz

The earliest piece shown, a graphite drawing of my violinist/composer friend, Temima Susskind, was one of many studies made while she was memorizing a set of Bach Partitas for performance. While she practiced I drew, drew, and drew.

The combination of her need for a live audience, even of one, and for me having the challenge of a model constantly in motion and absorbed in her own work was a particularly productive and mutually beneficial arrangement. The music served as a presence in the room which eventually worked its way into each drawing, though each time a different adjustment was made. Was the composition the key element, were the rapid movements of her hands the focus, was the rhythm the most important thing to convey? Each work resolved one facet of the challenge while the group of drawings overall saw a loosening up of my process and an attention to the particular dynamic contained within each sheet of paper.

During the making of the Violinist Series I moved studios. Though the Ha Neviim Street studio was only two blocks from the Davidka Square workplace, the change required an adjustment to my new conditions. Much like having a new roommate, every studio move takes some time to settle in and discover its special characteristics, whether it is the quality of the light or a new view or observing shifts in a room’s mood at different times of day and year.

The Davidka Square studio was situated on a very busy intersection, where Jaffa Road and Ha Neviim Street converge and a confluence of traffic, both vehicular and human, is always present. Getting to know my new space included taking advantage of its location with three windows bringing the world in and my gaze out. The expanse of the urban landscape was laid out before me and I painted it repeatedly, each time finding something new in it. Eventually, it was not the large expanse that pulled me in, but the vignettes that took place on the street right beneath me.

Once I realized being positioned exactly over the intersection could be a subject in itself, it was the play of light and shadows on the zebra stripes that attracted my notice. The pedestrians were directly beneath me, recalling a playground joke: 3 concentric circles indicated seeing a fat lady or man wearing a hat as seen from above. That old visual memory clicked in and pulled me to translate that specific view with the drama of strong sunlight on the street markings. As I continued working, the rhythm and composition of the stripes within a standard format became ever more interesting, the split-second interactions on the street created small narratives, and the overall situation of crossing on permitted paths leading from one safe zone to another all combined to make the crosswalk a subject that continued to challenge me.

Wet Crossing 2007 egg tempera 28 x 16 cm © 2015 by Heddy Abramowitz
Wet Crossing 2007 egg tempera 28 x 16 cm © 2015 by Heddy Abramowitz

I also found that the quick changes in foot traffic could best be conveyed in a medium that had more immediacy than the way I was using oil paints. My studies included quick graphite drawings which eventually I combined with working directly in sumi ink, reducing the strong graphics of the zebra stripes to their black and white simplicity. The rainy days of winter included the muted color of egg tempera.

The latest two sets of paintings were created during the past year, in which I used multiple panels to split the sets of stripes and further focus on the movement in another way. One panel is a triptych, called “On the Edge” while the most recent work completed is called “Coming and Going.”

Coming and Going 2014 oil on linen 40 x 100 © 2015 by Heddy Abramowitz
Coming and Going 2014 oil on linen 40 x 100 © 2015 by Heddy Abramowitz

The influences for this series of works range as far afield as the Abbey Road album cover of the Beatles, to Corot who was present in my mind as I “followed the reds” of the street markings, to Mondrian‘s Broad Way Boogie Woogie for its graphic reduction of street movement. The significance of this group of drawings represented for me a cross point in another way as well, a turning point in my process, a loosening up of method.

I am pleased to share with you my interview with Ilene Prusher of TLV1 Radio, an on-line all English radio station broadcasting from Tel Aviv. We discuss the work in my current solo exhibition at the Tel Aviv Artists’ House, what my original image resources were for these works and specifically discuss the oil painting “Shadow Couple.” To listen to the radio program click here (replete with an example of our ubiquitous election advertisements):

The segment starts at 01:47:46 but if you want to hear the Beatles sing “Revolution” then you can listen from 01:43. Thank you for listening, and I would love to hear your thoughts.

Cross Point

Artist House, 9 Alharizi Street, Tel Aviv

Hours are Monday – Thursday 10 am – 1 pm and 5 pm – 7 pm,

Fridays 10 am – 1 pm,

and Saturdays 11 am – 2 pm. tel. (03) 524-6685

through March 21.


About the Author
Heddy Abramowitz is a Jerusalem artist. Born in Brooklyn, NY to Holocaust survivors, raised in the southern Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., she shelved her career as an Israeli lawyer in favor of her first love, painting, and exhibits her art in Israel and abroad. Some say she is a lawyer in recovery, others just shake their heads. Believing that art communicates when words fail, she reviews Jerusalem art exhibits in English to broaden audiences for art made in this unique city. She also occasionally weighs in on current events. Living many years in the Jewish Quarter in the Old City significantly affected her outlook on living here, a work in progress. Good dark chocolate is her one true vice.
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