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Renowned Israeli artist’s works to be featured by Epsten Gallery: Yuval Yairi Visiting Artist Residency includes Nov. 14 program at White Theatre

This work by Yuval Yairi, ‘Topographic Study,’ 2015, archival pigment print, is courtesy of the artist and the Epsten Gallery at Village Shalom. It is among the images that will be on display as part of the Israeli artist’s exhibition at the Epsten Gallery beginning in November.

The Epsten Gallery will present “Yuval Yairi: Surveyor,” a solo exhibition featuring 16 photographs by this noted Israeli artist Nov. 13 through Jan. 22, 2017. Yairi’s works come from his current “Surveyor” series and selections from “Land,” the precursor to “Surveyor.”

Yairi will travel from his native Israel to Kansas City for a Visiting Artist Residency Nov. 7 – 16, at the Epsten Gallery, located at Village Shalom. During his time in the city, Yairi will conduct a 2 p.m. gallery talk during the Epsten Gallery’s public opening on Sunday, Nov. 13, from 1-4 p.m. 

The final program of Yairi’s residency will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday evening, Nov. 14, at the White Theatre of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City (The J). Showing a short film and a video selection of photographs, Yairi will share remarks about his unique approach to artistic expression and his focus on the exploration of “place” in the context of memory. The presentation, followed by a light reception, is offered by the Epsten Gallery in partnership with Jewish @ The J Department of the Jewish Community Center. It is free and the public is invited to attend.

Yairi’s work explores the subject of “place” in the context of memory — whether it’s a historical place, cultural, personal or political. Concurrent themes of time, identity, geographical location and war emerge within Yairi’s gridded photographic images depicting mountainous terrains, windowed interiors and landscapes that are expansive and starkly beautiful. These gridded images are composed of hundreds of frames of a site captured by Yairi’s camera over an extended period. Yairi digitally deconstructs and recomposes them to invent a sort of “timeless” place, both detailed and distant.

“It is an honor to feature Yuval Yairi at the Epsten Gallery and to share his compelling photographic images and films with the community,” said Heather Lustfeldt, Epsten Gallery curator. “Yuval’s insightful, thought-provoking work weaves a deeply personal narrative into universal themes related to place, time, memory and identity. We are grateful for the partnership with the Jewish Community Center to host Yuval for a wonderful public presentation that we hope will engage many community members.”

A lexicon of symbols, specific tools and codes within the images indicate and identify the “Surveyor,” Yairi’s alter ego. This theme merges into a series of studio still-life constructions and documentations of bullets, collected and archived by Yairi from the Israeli landscape. 

This body of work is largely informed by Yairi’s service as an aerial scout in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), which introduced him to photography while also leaving a lasting, difficult impression on him. Specific references to his life, homeland and perspective are the foundation for Yairi’s work, yet the language and artistry of his images find a universal, compelling voice for audiences of all backgrounds and cultures.  

Born in Israel, Yairi lives and works in Jerusalem. Prior to attending college, Yairi served in the Israel Defense Forces working at first in the armored corps as a tank driver followed by his service as an aerial scout. He remained in the reserves in the same unit until 2000.

Yairi studied visual communication at the WIZO College Haifa before managing a design studio in Jerusalem for 11 years. Yairi produced and directed short films and documentaries until 2004.  

Since that time, Yairi has devoted his work to research and artistic activity, primarily in mediums of photography and video. 

Yairi’s work has been exhibited in museums, galleries and festivals in Israel and abroad including The Israel Museum, Jerusalem (2004); San Diego Natural History Museum, California (2007); Three Gorges Museum, Chongqing, China (2008); and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel (2011). His works are in permanent museum and private collections worldwide, including the Israel Museum, Tel Aviv Museum, Livnat in Holland, Naggar in England, Berman and Bloch in Los Angeles and Constantiner in New York.

More information about Yairi’s upcoming visit and exhibition can be found at the gallery’s web site, www.epstengallery.org.