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A New Breed of Israeli Art — Netanel Morhan

the artists’ association, who was chosen to be curator of this exhibit. “His art is very different from anything that I had witnessed on the Israeli art scene. It is different thematically and different technique-wise, interesting and intriguing.”

The 25-year-old Morhan came to Israel with his parents — an American father and Israeli mother — at the age of 9 and began studying at the Jerusalem Art School when he entered high school.

As an aspiring artist, he would wake and immediately start preparing for a painting based on his memories of his dreams, he says.

Art is often subjective, but every once in a while we stumble across work that blows away even the casual observer.

This is the case with American-born Netanel Morhan’s paintings currently featured at the Jerusalem Artist’s House New Members’ Exhibition. His paintings are surreal, while also possessing a lifelike, 3-D effect that transports you to a different place.

Netanel Morhan

Photo: Barry Kaplan

“He is very talented and very young,” comments Yael Ruhman, an artist and member of

“In high school,  I also did big things.[Even then] everyone expected me to be an artist.”

When he was 17, he started focusing on paintings of people floating over their own bodies, always cultivating his craft with each new piece of work.

“It’s seeing your body from a totally different perspective, that you can exist beyond the body, which is the name of this exhibition,” Morhan explains as he stands in a room at the Artists’ House looking at four of his works. “Eight years later, I’m still investigating the same subject.

The New Artists Exhibition

Flash forward to today, and four of Morhan’s paintings hang upstairs at the Jerusalem Artists House as part of its New Members’ Exhibition.  “The Call” shows a man on his stomach flying out of a rich house into a more mysterious world.

Netanel Morhan Height and Illusion

“Height and Illusion” by Netanel Morhan

“Height and Illusion” shows in front, a man sleeping on a couch; behind is an aquarium with another man’s head and shoulder inside the aquarium and his feet in the air. “Awakening” shows a man on a mattress inside a glass elevator with New York skyscrapers behind. These paintings are each 5 feet 10 inches wide and 6 feet 10 inches high.

“The Higher and the Lower Court” shows a long boardroom table and chairs with clouds reflected on the table and the Hudson River behind. It is 8 feet 2 inches wide and 6 feet 10 inches high.

Alongside Morhan’s work, the Artists House is also featuring the works of its other new members, photographer Noa Brezner and and poet Hadassa Goldvicht.

Goldvicht’s poetry exhibition will be rather unique, as projectors will beam videos of staff member reading her highly personal poetry alongside the text of the poems as Goldvitcht wrote them herself.

The exhibition runs until October 24, 2015 and on September 25, you can catch a gallery talk with the artists as well as curator Ruhman.

Morhan’s Journey

Morhan, who has always created on a rather large scale, started in 2012 on the first of a series of 12 paintings that produced the 4 works on display at the Artists House. This was shortly after he finished his service in the Israeli Defense Forces and returned to his parents home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Maale Adumim.

Later that year, an acquaintance of St. Louis art promoter Anne Schneider “discovered” him.

“She knew I was developing a business promoting Israeli art and said you want to know this artist. Here’s his information,” said Schneider.

When she visited him at home and he unrolled his canvas, she was almost speechless. All she could say was, “Wow!” she recalls.

By summer of 2014, Morhan had already applied to become a member of the Jerusalem Artists’ Association and to be included in the exhibition.

The Artists House immediately accepted him for the exhibition and in May 2015 made him the youngest member ever accepted to the Artists  May 2015, Morhan was accepted as a new member of the Jerusalem Artists Association, the youngest member ever accepted in its 50-year history. When this new members’ exhibition was planned, he was invited to show his works.

When asked to describe the style of his paintings, Morhan says “the style is surrealistic and modern-day romance with an apocalyptic touch.”

To Morhan the paintings are a “documentary of an out of body experience.”

The Jerusalem Artists House

Where: The Jerusalem Artists House, 12 Shmuel Hanagid Street, Jerusalem
Hours: Sunday-Thursday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and 4:00 to 7:00 pm
Friday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm
Saturday from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Phone: 02–625-3653 (call for exhibition hours)
Email: artists@zahav.net.il


Sybil Kaplan is a seasoned foreign correspondent, journalist, food writer, book reviewer, and cookbook author. She comes from Overland Park, Kansas. She leads the weekly Shuk Walk in Machaneh Yehudah in English. Her husband, Barry, is her photographer. You can contact her by email at syb1023@aol.com.

Photos: Courtesy of the Jerusalem Artists House