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For MAN is the TREE of the GARDEN / Orit Lutringer, 2011

מרים חורי | ידיעות השרון
מרים חורי | ידיעות השרון

For Man is the Tree of the Garden / Orit Lutringer

The link between nature and man is especially evident​ In the works of Miriam Houri from Ramat Hasharon

Miriam Houri - "Foils", Beit Sokolov, Tel Aviv

Miriam Houri-Gutholtc (71), a resident of Ramat Hasharon, was born in Tunis, immigrated to Israel at the age of 10 with Aliyat Hanoar, the only member of her family. Arriving in Israel, she went to various institutions until she was accidentally sent to Kibbutz Negba. Since she grew up in a religious home, her relatives in Israel decided to take her out of the kibbutz and adopt her as their daughter, where she grew up for nine years, until she reached the age of 20. In 1960, when her family immigrated to Israel, Miriam joined her parents, who settled in Rishon Lezion. That same year she graduated from a teachers' seminar. At the age of 26, she decided to study art and enrolled to the Avni Institute of Art and Design, where she studied sculpture for four years with the sculptor, Moshe Sternshus.

Today, Miriam Houri is a member of the Artists' Association. She has twice won a scholarship from the Sharett Foundation for Plastic Arts. Since 1985 she has been teaching sculpture in her studio in Ramat Hasharon and she has presented eight solo exhibitions and participated in many group exhibitions in Israel and abroad. A number of her sculptures have been purchased for private collections in Israel, France, Switzerland and the United States. Houri has placed four statues in various public places in the country.

In her exhibition at Beit Sokolov, Houri presents 30 works, including 20 silver sculptures, some made of foil, some cast in bronze and aluminum and 10 sculptures combining wood and stone.

Houri began creating her series of silver figures by chance about five years ago. While watching television, she began to roll foil in her hand, and the shape she discovered was a small, fragile human figure, arousing her curiosity to continue creating sculptures from this material. She wanted to give more volume to her characters, so she built a kind of construction of iron wires. Some of the sculptures were then cast in tin, aluminum or bronze.

"Each material contributes to the character's uniqueness, and in each material the character looks a little different," says Miri Krimolovsky, the exhibition's curator, about the works of Houri. "Having grown larger, many of the figures became more abstract. They were suddenly “standing on one leg”. Suspended on a hair, they seem more human, strong yet vulnerable, perhaps the essence of the human genum. They appear to bend with the wind, tilting to one side or the other, wishing to stay grounded but still aspiring to keep moving."

"The figures that Houri makes are made of foil",  Krimolovsky continues, ''somewhat reminiscent of Giacometti's characters, with the most obvious connection point being the artist's fingerprint: Giacometti in clay and Houri in foil. Houri's work kisses that of Giacometti by chance, but it seems that Sartre's words about Giacometti's characters are beautiful and muscular, as well as about Houri's sculpted figures: 'These are metaphors of man’s loneliness on earth.' Without intending to, Miriam's characters stand in exactly the same metaphors. This is reinforced in the later series in which the character loses its mark - hands, feet, pelvis and becomes a kind of plant, a marker of the human figure who was, and is no longer here. "

The main installation in the exhibition draws its inspiration by a photograph of a field of yellow flowers, which aroused Houri's imagination, and she sought to create a flower field made of foil. She created  an installation made of 34 flowers of different sizes. For Houri, the flowers have become "a group of people coming together in a march to an unknown place," says the curator, and Houri adds: "This is a work that expresses the power of the group."

A second series presented in this exhibition is a series of wood and stone sculptures, which Houri began sculpting about 12 years ago. Also in this series, the link between nature and man is expressed in a unique way. Like the idea of silver sculptures, the idea of wood and stone sculptures came to life by chance, while pruning branches in her garden. One bougainvillea branch looked to her like a human silhouette, and into the space between the branches, she placed a stone that formed his body. From here, her work began to evolve. Houri began emptying the rotten part of the wood, and in its place laid a chiseled stone that was precisely adapted to fill the space created.

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