Collection > Ben-Ari, Guy

Guy Ben-Ari (born 1984 in Tel-Aviv, Israel) lives and works in New York City. Recently, he received his MFA from Columbia University's School of the Arts. Ben-Ari received his BFA with honors from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem where he received the Loren and Mitchell Persser Award for Excellence in Painting. While at Bezalel Academy, he was selected for the Exchange Program for Merit Students to study painting at the Slade School of Fine Arts, UCL, London.

Ben-Ari's work has been recently shown in New York City at Thierry Goldberg Projects gallery, 6-8 Months Project Space, the Neiman Gallery and the Fisher Landau Center For Art. Ben-Ari has participated in many group shows in Israel and Europe, most recently at Barbur Gallery, Minshar Gallery and Dollinger Gallery.

Ben-Ari's paintings are referential, figurative, narrative and illustrative. His work deals with the complex relationship between psychoanalytic theories and the medium of painting, while questioning the larger relationship of philosophy to art. In his latest work, Ben-Ari has been expanding his research of the illustrative by employing direct use of mental or visual exercises and theory.

2011 - MFA - Visual Arts Department, School of the Arts, Columbia University, New York, NY
2009 - BFA with honors - Fine Art Department, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, Israel
2008 - Exchange Program for Merit Students - Slade School of Fine Art, London, UK
Solo Exhibitions:
- Yes to Burning Eyes, Vox Populi Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
- The Time Element, Hamidrasha Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel

Selected Group Exhibitions:
- National Wet Paint Exhibition, Zhou B. Art Center, Chicago, IL
- Columbia MFA Thesis Show, Fisher Landau Center For Art, New York, NY
- Tigers in Red Weather, The LeRoy Nieman Gallery, New York, NY
- Executions, Minshar Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel
- Shelf Life, Postcrypt Gallery, New York, NY
- Exprist Painting Show, Bob Pavilion, New York, NY
- Durer's Rhinoceros, The LeRoy Nieman Gallery, New York, NY
- Here We Aren't, So Quickly, Thierry Goldberg Projects, New York, NY
- B-Sides, 6-8 Months Project Space, New York, NY
- Columbia MFA Program First Year Show, Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, New York, NY
- Postcrypt gallery, New York, NY
- ExpandTheRoom Annual Show, SPIN Magazine, New York, NY
- Bread and Roses, Minshar Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel
- Sleep Paralysis, KG45 Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel
- Summer Sale, P8 Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel
- Imagination, Bank Hapoalim building, Tel-Aviv, Israel
- International Painting Seminar Exhibition, Torre Canavese Gallery, Torre Canavese, Italy
- Search Engines, Dollinger Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel
- BART.L.V., P8 Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel
- Secret Art, Leumi Building, Tel-Aviv, Israel
- The Other Side, Lev Ha'ir Building, Herzelia, Israel
- B.F.A. Graduation Exhibition, Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem, Israel
- Painting, Irroni Ramle & Ofakim Station Gallery, Ofakim/Ramle, Israel
- A City Revealed, Public Event, Tel-Aviv, Israel
- A Different Screen, On the Seam Museum, Jerusalem, Israel
- Covering the Sun, Barbur Gallery, Jerusalem, Israel
- TrashCountryBilliz, Comfort 13, Tel-Aviv, Israel
- One Night in Barbur, Barbur Gallery, Jerusalem, Israel
- Wall Painting in Main Hall, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, Israel
2006 - Workshop's Final Exhibition, The Jerusalem Artists House Cellar, Jerusalem, Israel

Awards and Scholarships:
2012 - Artis Project Grant, Artis Contemporary Israeli Art Fund, New York, NY
2011 - Merit Scholarship, Columbia University School of the Arts, New York, NY
2010 - Artis Fellowship, Columbia University School of the Arts, New York, NY
2009 - Loren and Mitchell Persser Award for Excellence in Painting, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem

Curatorial projects:
- Durer's Rhinoceros, The LeRoy Nieman Gallery, New York, NY (Co-curated with Leah Wolff)
- B-Sides, 6-8 Months Project Space, NY (Co-produced with Leah Wolff)
- Multispace Art Event, Jerusalem, Israel (Co-curated with Ruslana Lichtzier)
- Aftershock, Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem, Israel (Co-curated with Ruslana Lichtzier and Elad Rosen)
- Fia Backström, Conversation Extracts, Borderless Bastards, Moderna Museet, Sternberg Press, p.66-68
- Daniel Leuwers (Ed.), "Les Tres Riches Heures du Livre Pauvre", Gallimard, "Mythite", p. 185.
- Yekutieli, Adi, "Time Loops", Ocean Breeze Exhibition Catalog, Israel, 2011. p.138
- New American Paintings, Issue No. 93 MFA Annual, Open Studios Press
- Ktovet - Poetry magazine (cover+all images), Issue #4, June 2011
- De Ja Vu, exhibition catalog, Postcrypt Gallery, New York, NY
- Durer's Rhinoceros, exhibition catalog, The LeRoy Nieman Gallery, New York, NY
- Fresh Paint art fair issue, front cover image,TimeOut Tel-Aviv magazine, Tel-Aviv, Israel
- Secret Art, exhibition catalog, Leumi Building, Tel-Aviv, Israel
- Bank Leumi Art Collection catalog, Tel-Aviv, Israel
- Execution Series, Virtual exhibition, Bezalel's History and Theorey Department's Protocols, August 09' link>>
- Secret Art, exhibition catalog, Leumi Building, Tel-Aviv, Israel
- Ktovet - Poetry magazine (images), Issue #1, July 2009 (page 63, 153, 174)

- Ellie Armon Azoulay, "Art in the Internet age",, 03.08.12
- Roberta Fallon, "Vox's four January artists – Investigators of things great and small",, January 31st
- Peter Brock, "Guy Ben-Ari & Leah Wolff, Guleah", ARTonAIR Interviews,, December '10
- Erin Tireses, "Here We Aren't, So Quickly," at Thierry Goldberg Projects, Gallery Crawl, July '10
- Andrew Russeth,"In New York: Gallery Openings this Weeken"d, 07.15
- Dana Gilerman, "Teudat Bagrut: Overdraft", Calcalist, 19.07.09
- Yaniv Yehuda-Aiger, "In the Boundaries of Reason: Israeli Art World Predictions",, 26.09.08
- Ruti Direktor, "Weekend Recommended", RutiDirektorNow (Blog) , 22.08.08
- Ido Rosen, "Multispace Art Event in Jerusalem", Galatz On-Line 18.8.2008- Chagit Peleg-Rotem, "Art in the
Streets of Jerusalem", Globes newspaper,17.08.08
- Liron Koren, "Multispace is taking over Jerusalem", Mouse On-Line, 17.08.08

Public Collections:
- Bank Hapoalim Art Collection, Israel
- Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Israel
- Bank Leumi Art Collection, Israel
- Brooklyn Art Library, New York
- Torre Canavese Collection, Torre Canavese, Italy


Existing on the border of folk illustration and the contemporary reduced painterly gesture, my work deals with systems of classification and the relationship of philosophy to art. My most recent works use painting as a tool for examining didactic strategies - the creative process functioning as an experiential learning process - by illustrating concepts from psychoanalytic theory. Stemming from a simultaneous fascination with and reluctance toward theoretical discourse, it addresses the discourse itself through imagery taken from concepts in the writings of Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan and others, and calls to the possibility of literalness in painting.

The paintings, in oil on canvas, are referential, figurative, narrative and illustrative. Composed in bright colors on large canvases or in gridded installations of smaller ones, their subjects originate in jokes or illustrations of psychoanalytic ideas or situations: the existence of the unconscious, the gap between signifier and signified, the ceaselessness of desire. In one painting, titled "Mirror Suspension," an infant developing his ego in Freud's "mirror phase" speaks to the development of artistic approach and methodology. In another, "Becoming Human," a man and woman walk through a gallery of paintings, each depicting some literal or associative illustration of a concept from psychoanalytic theory. Different forms of figuration appear in much of my work: from the museum goers to portraits of the philosophers or of my father, and even in abstract faces that emerge, upon close examination, from a large-scale painting of the library of Babylon.

In one sense, many of my paintings are humorous case studies examining issues of acceptance and taste in contemporary art. In another, they reference the reductive qualities of naïve arts and craft, suspending or reconstructing a memory or scenario in a sparse and self-referential way that discounts formal questions in favor of questioning their efficacy and purpose. I'm working with the notion that taking a metaphor literally is to kill the metaphor, and I'm using paintings to examine that very process. Giving visual expression to ideas from theoretical readings plays on the accessibility of terms and the level of knowledge that the viewer brings to the painting, while functioning as a mediation between the real and symbolic that these theorists explored.

Guy Ben-Ari
Oil on Canvas
64 x 79 inches
Guy Ben-Ari
Oil and Acrylic on Canvas
64 x 80 inches
Guy Ben-Ari
Becoming Human
Oil on Canvas
78 x 57 inches