Hadara Rabinowitz was happy with her ceramics. But perhaps not completely fulfilled.
The 33-year-old teaches ceramics at her alma mater, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, offers classes out of her downtown Jerusalem studio, and churns out her inventory of handworked sushi plates, trays, decorative plates (think tributes to “Friends” TV couple Ross and Rachel, or dancers frozen in form at a flashdance mob, rather than show dogs), some Judaica and orders for entire sets of dishes, like a current set of blue-and-white “dairy” dishes for a recently wedded couple. Yet obviously that wan’t enough.
So the Boston-born, Jerusalem-raised and Rhode Island School of Design-trained artist recently rented out the three-room space next to her one-room studio on Mesilat Yesharim Street, formerly occupied by a computer store, and began considering the potential for something a little different from the average ceramic studio or cooperative.
Called the Beautiful Eyes Gallery, it’s a space dedicated to contemporary conceptual art — and includes one room that serves as Rabinowitz’s living/dining room during off-hours — and she plans on exhibiting work from established artists creating conceptual ceramics, video, drawing, sculpture, photography and mixed media, offering five different shows a year.
The gallery’s first exhibition, “Big Secrets,” is now in place, featuring ten artists, and including ceramics, drawings, sculpture and a very personal video by Rabinowitz, about her dislike for her upper arms. The pieces are all by working artists, and the concept, said Rabinowitz, is to keep a steady stream of awareness of what people are up to. “Most of the work that’s important goes on between shows,” she commented. “But showing is a necessary part of the work.”
That said, given that all of the artists on show have ties to ceramics, the most interesting works are unsurprisingly those forged from pottery, including some with less than functional uses (such as Rivi Perlov’s ceramicized tablespoons, $500 for the set); Irit Abba’s three cylinders ($1,200); Guy Jana’s oversized bowls ($300 each) and Rabinowitz’s own gold-edged, porcelain plate featuring the portrait of an older woman (not her grandmother, just someone she used to work for, $350).
“You could put cookies on it,” she said, referring to said plate and the functional sturdiness of ceramics, “but a person did buy it for their plate collection.”
Or you can opt for more traditional use of more traditional ceramic pieces, and purchase a set of Rabinowitz’s dishes, art that is functional for everyday use. (Each setting of plate, salad plate and bowl costs NIS 210.)
Rabinowitz admitted that some of the art can be “wierd,” but that’s what makes the gallery different. It’s conceptual, it might be off-putting, but it’s all for sale.
“Big Secrets” at the Beautiful Eyes Gallery, 12 Mesilat Yesharim, Jerusalem, will run through January 15, 2013. Gallery opening hours: Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, call 050-673-6643.