English translation of article published on Maariv May 25th, 2012.
"You can start writing that I would like to buy a dress for the opening but I can't find the time to get around to it," says Shirly, while setting up her Macbook on the coffee table. The opening of Shirly's solo exhibit, winner of the 2012 Andy's Prize will take place on Thursday, May 31st, at the Tel-Aviv Museum of Fine Arts.
The Andy Prize was founded 7 years ago by Charles Bronfman to celebrate his wife Andy's passion towards decorative arts. The prize is considered to be the most prestigious award given in the decorative arts field, and awards a sum of 50,000 NIS.
She received the phone call from Mr. Bronfman about a year ago informing her of the news, as she held her first-born baby, and since then, her biggest challenge has become finding a balance between raising her child, making a living and creating her art. Despite the obstacles, she experienced a sudden jump in her career and in her teaching.
At Betzalel, where she's responsible for the jewelry at the Jewelry and Fashion Department, she felt the same process of maturity that she experienced as a mother. Ê
The exhibit will present more than 120 works, including pendants, brooches and pictures manipulated by her. A few of her works were done several years ago, but the core of her work has been completed during the past year.
She builds micro-worlds with precision and in detail, including scenes of different animals surrounded by colored, shiny stones. Looking thoroughly, it becomes evident that the color and shine are really the animals' trap.
The jewels of Bar-Amotz are small sculptures. You can touch them, wear them close to ones heart, and they say something about each one of us. They will all be exhibited in one single showcase, which gives the feeling of being in front of a huge treasure box. Ê
Shirly is 38 years-old, from the Kibbutz Maabarot, a third-generation of Zionist pioneers. As a child, she spent some years in Europe with her family, and her decorative objects are strongly influenced by these childhood memories. Through her work, she confronts the founding generation, who attempted to eliminate the European tradition from exile in order to create a new culture.
Her studio is located on a second floor of what used to be the kibbutz's first children house. Her daughter Maya's kindergarten is not far away, so she visits her mother's studio often, admiring the shiny objects.
The studio's purpose is dual: to give her a space to create and to teach, which she greatly enjoys as well. Ê
She had been accepted to both architectural and jewelry studies, but she chose jewelry after being enchanted by the sight of a box containing colored-enamel butterflies.
Her field of expertise in the past years has been enamel works with different colors, textures and printing. Ê
Her work is shown in Israel and overseas. Some of her work is currently being shown in Germany; works with dense aesthetics ,diverse techniques, and ready-made pieces typical of contemporary jewelry. Ê
Bar-Amotz is also a member of a group of jewelers founded by professor Deganit Stern Schoken. They meet once a month with the aim of finding galleries to exhibit. Their group is a joint effort to promote Israeli contemporary jewelry. Ê
By being awarded the prize, Shirly brings her creative cycle to closure. From the very beginning of her work, Andy Bronfman, Aviva Ben-Sira, and the jury of AIDA liked her work and chose her GLOSS glass sculptures to be exhibited at the SOFA exhibition in Chicago. Following her Chicago exhibit, she took the path that brought her to where she is now, the winner of said prize. Ê Ê
(Aviva Ben-Sira is the Director of AIDA [Association of Israel Decorative Arts], founded by Andy and Charles Bronfman and Dale and Doug Anderson.) Ê
"It was a courageous choice for Andy, Aviva and the jury, because my work was a design art piece that didn't fit this bourgeois exhibit. It was a period of search, I saw at SOFA a few jewelry galleries and decided that this was the push I needed to focus on jewelry. This was the minute I understood that in addition to my paintings, ceramic and glass sculptures, I could also create jewelry. The question about whether I'm making a jewel, a fine art piece, a design piece or a sculpture, no longer troubles me. There is an idea, there is a trigger to work, there is material, and I work with it." Ê Ê