12.18.2014

ILAN ASHKENAZI - SCULPTING LIGHT




When you're walking down Palace Avenue in Santa Fe you don't expect to see a fifty-five foot copper dragon draped over a rooftop looking as if it is about to  leap/fly onto the sidewalk and do what dragons do...



But said dragon is permanently affixed to the roof of the ELLSWORTH GALLERY and its' curvaceous claws and bristling  snout pose no threat, but it definitely caught my attention when I walked by and I set out to meet the artist.


Courtesy of Ellsworth Gallery


 I L A N   A S H K E N A Z I 
"When I left Israel a friend told me to go to Santa Fe, he said I would find my people there. I trusted him as a messenger and I came here with all my heart."


Originally from Tel Aviv, this multi-faceted artist found his way to Santa Fe nine years ago and has been successful in creating art and building a community of friends.  He is both a  religious scholar - studying for many years at the prestigious Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem - and  a sculptor - learning ceramics and classical figurative sculpture from masters. His passion for both religion and art imbue his life and work.  

"My art is not a burst of powerful emotions which strives merely to be beautiful; it is a process of evolvement, bringing spiritual
ideas into the material world."



One of his beautifully-balanced mobiles hangs inside the Ellsworth Gallery and I couldn't resist photographing how it moves and plays with light and shadows.



His home & studio are filled with his sculpture.





But, his most recent work 

I L L U M I N A T E D   S C U L P T U R E

 takes center stage.
















S H A P E   &   L I G H T

Steel rods and Kozo (mulberry) paper are elegantly manipulated, shaped and lit from within by LED lights that change color via remote control.  "It's participatory art," explains Ilan. "The viewer becomes involved with the sculpture."  

While I photographed each work. Ilan  played with the remote choreographing a  range of soothing, soft colors. 


T H E   S T U D I O


A large sculpture in progress...



An open panel reveals the LED lighting...






All his work begins with a sketch and calculations.
"The trick," says Ilan," is to see the volume and manage to transfer two dimensions into three."



And in his library two walls are filled with religious books. "I've read each one," notes Ilan.




 Q U E S T I O N

Q. If you could do an illuminated light sculpture anywhere in the world, where would that be?

A. I'd love to collaborate with architect Frank Ghery and create either an illuminated  wall or ceiling for one of his buildings."


I L A N   A S H K E N A Z I 



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