My lovely cousin Yael and I recently went to an open night at Ben Rotman’s studio in Tel Aviv. I first became acquainted with Ben while organizing an auction to raise funds for children with Down Syndrome. Ben, who’s volunteered in the past with children in hospitals, generously offered lessons in his craft.
The first thing I noticed about Ben’s artwork was his compelling use of color and line. The colors are unconventional, the lines firmly wrought, distinct and slashing. Recurring themes includes huge figures of women sitting atop cities, horses, cyclists, and musicians.
He seems fond of depicting motion as well as absolute stillness. The giant women have a corpselike quality, with their blue-green faces and placid poses. On the other hand, cyclists and horse races abound, and though I didn’t see a single nude in his studio, there are numerous paintings of people in the act. Also cars, pedestrians, dancers, gymnasts, flowers blowing in the wind…clearly he loves movement.
The first thing we saw was a painting of an orgy Ben had been invited to. He also described a small African village where, as a token of hospitality, inhabitants offer themselves to visitors. Refusing is considered rude and ill-mannered so unfortunately Ben had no choice but to participate. Against his UTTER and TOTAL wish.
Right. I basically had to walk around with my hands clamped over my little cousin’s ears.
Yael prefers realism, so she didn’t connect to Ben Rotman’s work as much as I did. Among her many talents, Yael’s a fantastic artist. (And she’s only 16!!) She has a really clear of what she values or doesn’t value in art. But we did agree that Ben’s a gifted artist, and we had a fun night.
Some of Ben’s paintings: