Biography

Abshalom Jac Lahav, born in Israel and living in Brooklyn, has been exposed to an overwhelming amout of culture, all in which fascinates him. He received a BA in Psychology from Wesleyan University, and studied painting at the SVA and Cooper Union. Lahav is a painter of the unconscious whose storybook paintings explore depth psychology, archetypes and alchemy.

Lahav is currently painting lots of textiles and thinking about how couture reflects painting and how painting can transform couture:

“I often think of the society portraits of John Singer Sargent, the beautiful garments painted by Monet, and the textile quality of Gustav Klimt’s work. I am fascinated by the costuming element of clothing and how it transforms identity.

In portraiture, costume reflects ones identity yet fashion is also a veneer. My paintings physically depict this superficiality. Much of the realism looks collaged, however close up the image is reduced to drippy paint. These elements of haute couture have beautifully rendered surfaces bringing us back to this question of facade and veneer. They take the person out of the clothing and allow us to admire the empty husks of haute.”

In his past exhibition entitled “48 Jews” the young American artist tackled the question of Jewish identity. Even the title itself challenges viewers to question their understanding of the term “Jew.” His reference to Gerhard Richter’s series aside, the number 48 has a huge significance in Jewish history: 1948 is the year Israel declared its independence, and there are 48 prophets in the Hebrew Bible. However, he does not attempt to highlight the ‘Jewishness’ of his figures explicitly, nor celebrate the very fact that they are Jewish. For him it is much more a question of the dichotomy of his own situation; of engaging with his background and of questioning stylized identity as a painter, and Jewish identity in general.

When looking at this collection, one can immediately detect its mysterious, distorted, and haunting effect. When asked who were his main influences in projecting such a mood, Lahav lists Francis Bacon, Giacometti and in general, most surrealists. He continues by describing his techniques: “a lot of the process comes from layering, and the mood usually comes from the use of color. The creepy power of the unconscious is an amazing force”


BORN

Jerusalem,  Israel

EDUCATION

2008
Brooklyn College (CUNY), NY M.F.A. – Painting
2005
Cooper Union – (painting residency) New York, NY
2002
School For Visual Arts – (painting residency) New York, NY
2000
Wesleyan University – Middletown, CT B.A. – Psychology /University Honors Major

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Jewish Museum, NY, NY Jewish Museum of Florida, Miami, FL

AWARDS, FELLOWSHIPS & RESIDENCIES

2007
Graduate Fellowship – Brooklyn College, CUNY, NY
GIP Travel Grant – Brooklyn College, CUNY, NY
GIP Research Grant – Brooklyn College, CUNY, NY
2006

Graduate Fellowship – Brooklyn College, CUNY, NY
GIP Research Grant – Brooklyn College, CUNY, NY
Kimmel Harding Nelson Center – Residency, Nebraska City, Nebraska
KHN Emerging Artist Grant
Vermont Studio Center – Residency, Johnson VT
VSC Artist Grant
2005

92nd st Y, Makor/SteinHardt Center – Residency, New York, NY
2004

I-Park (Artist Enclave)– Residency, East Haddam, CT

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2009
Title Magazine – www.titlemagazine.net Zeek Magazine - Jewish Women, God, and the Next Generation
2008
W Magazine – American Flags, December Issue
2007

Carroll County Times, Masked reality, real portraits at Rice, by Pamela Zappardino
Neo-Integrity – Catalogue by Keith Mayerson
2006
Arts For Healing – Catalogue by Mushroom Arts, NYC
“Notebook” – Creative Capitalism, Baltimore MD
2005
ConArt – Wisconsin,, Annual Art Magazine , Contributing Artwork
Propaganda 101 – NYC Quarterly Political Magazine, Cover Art