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Dreams & Visions

Jacob & Sons
Unity within Diversity

May 20-June 19, 2014
Mandel JCC
Cleveland, OH USA
part of Cleveland Jewish Arts and Culture Lab

Media E-mail
This feature was in the Haaretz and Kol Ha-Ir entertainment magazine Achbar Ha'Ir.  Below is an English translation.
Who am I?

My name is Rachel Gordon. I am a photographer and performance artist. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, USA and made aliyah 6 years ago. I live in Jerusalem.

My work

I photograph things that have been left behind on the streets around the city - lost pacifiers, left coffee cups, forgotten shoes.

There's a challenge in finding beauty in garbage. It requires being open to a shift in perspective. There is so much around us that we don't notice. I love hearing from people that after seeing my photographs they are seeing more things around them.

I have no formal art training. I've learned a lot about art from working with my husband, Joseph Connelly, who is also an artist.

What am I doing now?

I have a number of projects that are on-going. I have thousands of images of coffee cups, clear plastic drinking cups, shoes, bottles, chad paamit food containers, and diapers - as well as other photography projects I am working on.

I am also a performance artist and just came back from the Ruach Yam Festival in Bat Yam, where I built a large installation out of discarded Coca-Cola bottles. I don't always work with used or discarded materials, but it is definitely a theme. Last year, as part of the collaborative team Gordon & Gordon Art, Joseph and I did a large scale art piece called Yad Shniyah in Jerusalem. We made 1,000 26 cm tall dolls out of discarded clothing that we left around the city for people to find.

I get asked if my work is about the environment or recycling and reuse. The answer is no. Don't get me wrong - I think that Jerusalem has a serious litter problem and all of these single use items drive me crazy. Even though a lot of my art work involves litter - if it all went away tomorrow, I would happily find new things to photograph.

About the exhibition

The exhibition at Beit Tzarfat is a part of a collection entitled ‘Left Behind.' There are 23 images on display. The photos are printed on fine art paper and look more like paintings than photographs.

There are three other artists in the exhibition. The curators are fantastic and have a variety of media in each exhibit - photography, sculpture, painting, fabric. There is something for everyone.

When people hear that I take photos of garbage, they are often skeptical. Seeing the photos on the computer is one thing. Seeing them printed large on the walls in the gallery, you will be amazed by how beautiful images of garbage can be.

Plans for the future

I've been honored to have my work exhibited in the USA, Israel, and Russia so far. I'm looking forward to traveling to other countries to make and show my work. I love living in Israel and making work here. Since I didn't grow up here, I have the gift of seeing the country through fresh eyes and being somewhat ignorant of what is going on.

Space is a challenge. We have a small apartment that serves as both home and studio. I'm looking forward to having a separate studio space that is large enough to contain our projects.

The other challenge is time. Making art takes time. Sometimes I'll walk around the city for hours and find lots of things to photograph and sometimes only a few. In order for my work to happen, I need time to wander, to see what I find.

More information:

The exhibition at Beit Tzarfat is open until October 10, 2011. The gallery is open from 8:00-18:00 Sunday-Thursday.

My website:


Meet the Sheep

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