Ruti de Vries — Heavy Sadness

Curator: Ruth Oppenheim
HaAmakim Gallery, Kibbutz Sha’ar HaAmakim, Israel
30 November 2019 — 7 March 2020
Opening: 30 November, 11:30

Ruti de Vries has researched for a few months the work of Avraham Omri – a versatile artist whose art
ranged between the graphic and the painted, serving both the socialist movement and his own artistic
aspirations. In her solo exhibition – “Heavy Sadness” – de Vries created a body of works influenced by
the materials that she found the Kibbutz’s archive, and through which she structured a sort of a minimalist
temple to the late artist’s work.
The exhibition includes a number of de Vries’s new works – among them painting on canvas, paintings on
mud surfaces, as well as sculpture. The works are exhibited alongside some of Omri’s works to which de
Vries chose to refer to. In addition, de Vries brings back to the art space some of the elements that were
part of the original studio. Here she attempts to follow the unwritten will of Avraham Omri that art is not
entertainment, and that the future of the studio is not to turn into a discotheque, but to keep on presenting
Ruti de Vries’s new works are all soaked in sadness. It is as if the sadness she encountered in Omri’s
works met her own, placed at the center of her creation and ranging between the heavy heartedness and
the weightlessness of the material. Avraham Omri was a talented artist, realized only little his artistic
aspirations, and experienced many losses. The space de Vries creates turns into a sort of a burial room – a
pyramid – that recycles life and death. Archetypical worlds of primeval cultures give shape to the figures
therein, and support the sense of the built-up temple as leftover relics.
de Vries’s style, ranging too between the graphic and the painted, corresponds properly to Omri’s wide
representational spectrum: his role as the graphic designer of Hashomer Hatzair movement, his activity as
an artist in the Kibbutz, a designer of fonts, as well as an oil and sand painter of somber and wild
paintings of apocalyptic worlds.
The exhibition is an occasion to bring together Omri’s forgotten work and the art of a contemporary artist.
It is also an opportunity to bring back his studio (his art space) to its original role as a space that
interweaves the practical with the abstract, the sad with the happy.

Fotos: Goni Riskin