About the Artist

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Environmental Art Projects
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Personal Statement

I grew up on a lake in Florida and spent much of my childhood outside. As I played, I never tired of watching the paintings made by the clouds in the sky. In University, I learned from good instructors, among them, Neil Welliver who believed that “nature is the best teacher”. Although I studied with him in a place far from natural - the city of Philadelphia - the business of going out to paint what little nature I could find agreed with my love of being outdoors.

When I paint I find the animate in what we rationally consider inanimate objects. This is perhaps due in part to my personal reading of the world as a place endowed with spirit. Trees are close to humans in many ways: we have songs and stories in which we anthropomorphize trees and we have expressions for our own actions that are rooted in the language about plants and trees.

Rocks and mountains are a bit more removed from people but when one looks at these objects in geological time they too are fluid and changing; forming and eroding. I enjoy this tension in the dichotomy between the solid world in which we stand and the changes that it has undergone and is forever undergoing.

On a visual level too there is a struggle between solid form and dissolving organic form. Brush strokes of color move through rocks and trees and clouds implying movement in what is otherwise a static object. At the same time the forms never dissolve completely, maintaining their identity as the objects that we know. Where content is concerned, I'm drawn to subjects that remind us of this state of flux.

In my first paintings of the Arava desert, I tended to filter out the manmade objects that were either permanent fixtures or left over remains from the various people who had passed through, preferring to see only the beauty of nature and considering these objects as ugly by comparison. After a time, my environmental outrage had to find expression in the paintings somehow and I began to include an old oil drum here and an old tractor tire there. The electric pylons found their way into my paintings. The distraction of these things from the beauty of the landscape is deliberate. I have also begun making sculptures using the debris that I find together with ceramics. The idea behind both the sculptures and the paintings is the combination of what is alive and what is killing life.

Biography
I had my formal education in the United States at the University of Pennsylvania, and then at Indiana University. I studied with such successful painters as Neil Welliver, Robert Barnes, Robert Godfrey, Barry Gealt, and Bonnie Sklarski, taking something from each of them (Thank You).

My desire to live in a Jewish country, as well as my love for Mediterranean cultures, and my need for beauty in the landscape around me, took me to Israel. Today I live on Kibbutz Ketura, located in the southern Arava desert. I frequently paint from the landscape in the area, and at Hai-Bar, a nearby nature reserve. I have also done collaborative environmental art projects and play equipment for children. for and with the community, using recycled garbage and the clay-filled mud of the area, to build sculptures that are also benches.

. I have shown my paintings in Tel Aviv, Beer Sheva, Ashkelon, Jerusalem and the Arava.

Education
MFA Indiana University in Bloomington 1985- studied with Robert Barnes, Barry Gealt and Bonnie Sklarski

BA University of Pennsylvania 1981- studied with Neil Welliver and Robert Godfrey

Recent Exhibitions
2004 “Southerly Wind”, one woman show, Ephrat Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel

2004 “From the Shoah to the Rise of Israel”, group show, Son’s Memorial, Beer Sheva, Israel

2004 group exhibition of Negev artists, Jerusalem Theater, Jerusalem, Israel

2003 group exhibition Cultural Arts Center in Ashkelon, Israel

2002 "The Desert According to Marla", one woman show, "Kav 20", Hevel Eilot, Israel

2002 "On the Edge of the Desert", one woman show, Leonardo Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel

2002 "New Energy", group show, Beer Sheva Public Library, Beer Sheva, Israel



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All paintings copyright © 1998-2005 Marla Slott