The Jewish Federation of Cleveland will hold the Cleveland premiere of the works of Israeli artist Shony Rivnay with the exhibition “Unfolding Nature: Dancing Through Waves,” starting Nov. 10 in the Roe Green Gallery.

Rivnay is an interdisciplinary Israeli-American artist based in Tel Aviv, who works in various media including painting, sculpture, video, installation and performance. He has exhibited solo shows in cities including New York, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Venice. He holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem.

This exhibition, “Unfolding Nature: Dancing Through Waves,” consists of a series of vibrant paintings, filled with characteristic biomorphic shapes that have been deliberately exaggerated and infused with harmony. The choreography of the work is laced with intense forms and unexpected colorations. The work is based upon the visual images derived from other disciplines, particularly that of music.

What’s the theme of  “Unfolding Nature: Dancing Through Waves?”

In my work I deal with elements, with the relationship between them. My inspirations are the macro world, the micro world and the frequency that goes between to make it all happen.

Can you explain how the show came together?

These works are part of a show I had in New York for the last eight months. The people of the Federation found about it and the connection was made.

I understand you’ve never shown your work in Cleveland before. Why are you excited to have your work shown here?

I must say I love the idea that this show will give some colors and good vibes to the people of Cleveland, or at least to those who come to Roe Green gallery. I heard the winter is long and gray, I want to bring light.

Is there any particular piece you’d like to tell us more about that will be featured in the show?

A small painting, 20 x 20 cm. (the image with an oblong gray striped shape in the middle and purple and blue outside), that shows the relationships between the two particles, the light, the influence – is it million light years far? Or is it in your blood cell? I’m in non-story art, that creates a whole new world. (The works are abstract, but are not in any way represented or connected or trying to suggest anything out of the canvas.) I’m trying to create frequencies.

I just feel it is a good place to be. And this piece is a perfect one.

When and where is the exhibit on view? 

The exhibit will be on view until May 2020 in the Roe Green Gallery at the Federation’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Building, 25701 Science Park Drive in Beachwood.

For information on this exhibition, visit

The director of the Cleveland Israel Arts Connection, a program of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, talks about Israeli artist Sigalit Landau’s “Growth & Change,” which is on view through Oct. 27 at the Roe Green Gallery inside the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Building.

What can visitors look forward from Sigalit Landau’s “Growth & Change”?

Curator A. Will Brown, formerly of the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, visited Sigalit Landau and Yotam From at their studios in Tel Aviv and near the Dead Sea to select works for “Growth & Change.” In his words:

“Israeli artists Sigalit Landau and Yotam From work as a team to create poignant and often incisive artworks across many forms. This exhibition presents a group of works that explore powerful metaphors about the nature of being human.

“Landau has long engaged with the Dead Sea as a site of meaning and a place to generate new artworks. Over months of soaking in the depths of the Dead Sea, Landau and From have brought to life projects that include the Salt Crystal Bridal Gown (2014) series of sculptures and photographs and numerous salt-encrusted objects. In addition, Landau has made both map-like and relationally focused etchings while exploring the Dead Sea, such as the Salt Wedding (2016) portfolio and the Bridge Map (2014), which is one in a larger series.”

Sigalit Landau and Yotam From stand in front of “Salt-Crystal Bridal Gown III” (2014) and “Salt-Crystal Bridal Gown VIII” (2014) at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Building in Beachwood. Image courtesy of the Cleveland Israel Arts Connection. 

What inspires Landau to select the objects she does for her works? Do those objects represent recurring artistic themes, and if so, can you elaborate?

Sigalit’s passion with the Dead Sea stemmed from her childhood in Jerusalem, where she was able to gaze outside her window and view the reflections off the water. After her mother’s death, she was drawn back to the sea as a connection to her memories. Many of the objects she selects also deal with memory, such as the shoes and an empty stretcher. The tutu is nostalgic from her youth when she was an accomplished dancer – also now just a memory. The Salt Bride images were conceived in part by the memory of bridal boutiques in a neighborhood where she lived when her daughter was very young. The series was further inspired by a costume exhibit at Habima, Israel’s national theater, featuring the dress worn by Hanna Robina in “The Dybbuk.”

Salt in Israel plays a much different role than salt in Northeast Ohio and other locations with seasonably cold winters. In what ways does Landau explore this contrast in her art?

Salt is a preservative. Biblically, we dip challah in salt because salt never spoils, just as G-d’s covenant with the Jewish people is eternal. In Cleveland, however, salt is used to destroy – as evidenced by the perennial appearance of potholes in our city streets. Not many Israelis know that salt melts ice, but Sigalit knew from her experiences in Berlin and Philadelphia that salt is a winter necessity.

To explore the destructive nature of salt, Sigalit and Yotam developed the “Gdansk Series” where they took salt-encrusted boots to a frozen river in Gdansk, Poland. Gdansk was chosen for several reasons in addition to its climate. The former name of Gdansk was Danzig, and Sigalit is an admirer of the Israeli sculptor Itzik Danziger. Danzig also means “dancer,” which Sigalit used to be. And in recent history, Gdansk shifted countries between Poland and Germany, where Sigalit’s family came from before the war.

In the “Gdansk Series” the salt boots are placed on the frozen river. Still photos taken throughout the day show the boots as they slowly melt through the surface, ultimately to sink into the river’s depths. What remains are two holes in the ice, a memory of what had once been there.

“Gdansk #5 (2011) by Sigalit Landau and Yotam From. Color print. 80 x 114 x 5 cm. Edition: 2/6 + 2AP. Image courtesy of the Cleveland Israel Arts Connection.

This show was brought to Northeast Ohio by the Cleveland Israel Arts Connection. For those who aren’t familiar, will you describe the organization’s role in the local arts community and what it brings to the region? 

The Cleveland Israel Arts Connection is a program of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, connecting our community with the most dynamic 21st century cultural experiences that Israel has to offer. Working in partnership with Northeast Ohio’s leading arts organizations, we strive to identify, enhance, promote and create unique and engaging Israeli cultural opportunities.

In order to accomplish these goals, we meet regularly with creative leaders throughout Cleveland’s cultural community to introduce them to opportunities for collaboration. We often are able to facilitate “exposures” where the artistic directors travel to Israel for several days to experience the artform firsthand. They attend performances, visit galleries and studios, and meet with artists, actors, choreographers, playwrights and directors. We’ve been fortunate to send people to exposures for visual art, world music, jazz, dance and theater.

In the past 10 years, we have helped identify and bring in more than 100 Israeli musicians, composers, visual artists, authors, dance companies, choreographers, actors, theater troupes and filmmakers to our community in partnership with more than 50 of Cleveland’s fine-art institutions. Our upcoming season includes many Israeli films at both the Mandel JCC’s Jewish FilmFest and the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, exciting new visual art exhibitions at the Roe Green Gallery, conversations with author Dorit Rabinyan, and musical partnerships with the BlueWater Chamber Orchestra, the Cleveland International Piano Competition and The Cleveland Orchestra, which will present the world premiere of a concerto by composer Oded Zehavi.

You can visit to learn about upcoming opportunities to experience Israeli art in Cleveland.

How can those interested in seeing “Growth & Change” go about doing so?

Open Houses on the following dates are free and open to the public and include docent-led tours:

  • 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18
  • 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20
  • 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15
  • 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17
  • 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27

Outside of Open House hours, you can visit the Roe Green Gallery by appointment or schedule group tours. Please email or call 216-593-2845.

Lead image: “Tutu” (2017) by Sigalit Landau and Yotam From. Color print. 137 x 92 x 4 cm. Edition: 5/9 + 2AP. Image courtesy of the Cleveland Israel Arts Connection.