Hometown: Kibbutz Yavne
Lives and Works: Jerusalem
Matan Ben Tolila was born in Kibbutz Yavne in 1978. He lives and works in Jerusalem.
Matan Ben Tolila’s work hangs on moments in which reality and abstraction co-exist. His work methods include acts of repetition, distortion, filling, and subtracting. Ben Tolila investigates issues of mobility, stability, and control – or lack thereof, suggesting several possibilities simultaneously. The Artist paints mental landscapes as though they were exterior landscapes. He tantalizes us with familiar and tangible objects, in which he embeds unmissable traces of illusion and a puzzle, a labyrinth, as though explicitly telling us: the image before you is in my mind and in your mind only.
The scenery portrayed in Ben Tolila’s earlier paintings featured temporary structures of different kind and function, constructed with simple, almost schematic elements. These temporary structures spread out and conquer the landscape while at the same time blocking it, dictating scale, perspective, and narrative. The landscapes seem to describe nowhere specific; painted with intensive opaque brushstrokes and strong non-natural colors they reflected detachment, unease, and tension.
In his recent series of paintings, Ben Tolila created a journey diary of sorts. imbued with sober longing and yearning for faraway and exceptional places. In these works he creates an enigmatic composition of a painting within a painting set in the landscape, on which he projects images taken from plays, childhood BOOKS, and old painting books. The images differ greatly in their nature and context but share the same search for reason, idea, and the persistent demand for painting.
Matan Ben Tolila graduated from Bezalel Art Academy in 2006, and from the Bezalel MFA program in 2010.
Ben Tolila has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions, such as: “Journeys” Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Shesh-Besh, Petach Tikva Museum of Art; The Same Sea/A Different Coast, Galerie 61, Bielefeld, Germany; Vacuum, RawArt Gallery, Tel Aviv; Open Call for Snow, Gallery 39, Tel Aviv; City Gallery, Kfar Saba; Travelers’ Hut, Bezalel Gallery, Tel Aviv; Rock Paper& Scissors, The New Gallery, The Artists’ Studios, Jerusalem
Ben Tolila has been awarded the Excellence in Painting in 2006 by the Fine Art department, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem. He has received the Excellence of the America-Israel Cultural Foundation award in 2005, 2006, and 2007, and the Presser Award for Excellence in painting by the Bezalel Academy.
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