Curated by Jennifer-Navva Milliken
Featuring the work of: Miri Admoni, Alexandra Ben-Abba, Ghiora Aharoni, Roi Carmeli, Nirit Dekel, Dafna Kaffeman, Li Chen and Gregori Zilber, and Shahaf Predilailo and Gregori Zilber.
March 21- May 5, 2018
Opening reception: March 21, 6 - 8 pm
“Unresolved”: A word used to describe a situation that lacks certainty or finality, a status still open for examination or processing. Unresolved issues, residing deep in the psyche, haunt and obscure cognition, impacting judgment and undermining attempts to cultivate relationships. For artists and makers, however, an unresolved issue—a skill that needs mastering or an idea that needs refining—can be the driving force in the process of creation, catalyzing critical decisions that test an artist’s technical and conceptual acuity.
The exhibition Unresolved (Issues) considers an artist’s evolving relationship with a specific material—glass—in parallel to its history in a region whose contemporary identity remains unresolved. Researching ancient and contemporary practice in the material of glass in and around Israel is a complex endeavor. Due to the wealth of sand and soda found along the eastern edge of the Mediterranean coastline, some of the earliest sites of glass-centered production were sited here, spawning multiple, diverging timelines and varying influences. From the early experiments documented by Pliny, Josephus, and Tacitus dating back more than 2,000 years, to dynastic practice by a Palestinian family in Hebron that continues to this day, the glass industry in this small but focal part of the Middle East has waxed and waned along with the civilizations that rose and fell upon its sands. How does this complicated history impact a new, globally oriented generation of glass artists whose work is physically built upon the archaeological, political, and cultural strata that lies beneath it?
Following hundreds of years of engagement and the development of a present-day international community of glass artists, an examination of “place” seems extraneous and provincial. And yet, at a time when glass as an art medium is gaining traction among artists in Israel due in part to digital documentation, social media, and international exchange, the ancient history of glass in the region provides a fertile backdrop for a study of the contemporary practices taking shape.
Resolution, and the lack of it, is a part of the artistic process; parallel to that are the existential questions surrounding the past, present, and future of Israel. Unresolved (Issues) creates room for contemplation of these questions in the gallery, reflected in the glass that binds them together in this exhibition.
About the curator:
Jennifer-Navva Milliken is a curator and writer whose work is inspired by the objects with which we live and the hands, tools, and ideas that shape them. Both an embedded staff member in international art museums and an independent curator, with a solid academic background in fine arts and design, she brings a fresh yet comprehensive approach to a broad diversity of arts initiatives. Her exhibitions have been presented in museums, art fairs, galleries, and unconventional spaces, and her writings have appeared in exhibition catalogues, anthologies, and publications that investigate and critique the intersecting fields of art, craft, and design. With a uniquely global perspective, honed through a life split between two continents, she is driven by the extraordinary power of the arts to challenge preconceptions and bridge divides.
In her work as an independent curator and writer, Milliken strives to connect people, media, and ideas in new and surprising ways, as demonstrated in her latest exhibitions Humaira Abid: Searching for Home and Electric Coffin: Future Machine. Her approach was honed during her work at renowned arts institutions, among them The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and the Museum of Arts and Design, New York. Most recently, she served as Curator of Craft at Seattle’s noted Bellevue Arts Museum, where she broadened the museum’s exhibitions program to include in-depth explorations of contemporary practices among designers and makers in projects such as The New Frontier: Young Designer-Makers in the Pacific Northwest; Atoms + Bytes: Redefining Craft in the Digital Age; and BAM Biennial 2016: Metalmorphosis. Exhibition catalogues include The New Frontier: Young Designer-Makers in the Pacific Northwest; Foreign Body: Giving Jewelry a Second Look, and a forthcoming book examining recent work by Pakistani-American artist Humaira Abid. Other publications include essays for Shows and Tales—On Jewelry Exhibition Making (Art Jewelry Forum), ARCADE magazine, and Domus (Israel), as well as essays for monographs on the work of a number of artists. Milliken, who studied at Western Washington University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, lives in New York and Tel Aviv.
Unresolved (Issues) is supported in part by AIDA: Association of Israel's Decorative Arts, the Friends of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design and the Consulate General of Israel in New York.