Suly Born­stein Wolff is a multi-faceted artist who works in a vari­ety of media, from oils to acrylic, draw­ing to water­color. She is a vir­tu­oso artist who has exhib­ited widely, both nation­ally and inter­na­tion­ally in venues as diverse as Flo­rence, Tel Aviv and New Delhi, India, and of course New York. Rem­i­nis­cent of styles as diverse as the quasi-abstracted paint­ings of Cecily Brown, the meta­phys­i­cal instal­la­tion and wall sculp­ture of Eva Hesse, as well as the paint­ings sym­bol­ist land­scapes of Gus­tav Klimt, Suly’s works are simul­ta­ne­ously lyri­cal and mys­te­ri­ous, jubi­lant yet pen­sive. Employ­ing these para­doxes, she skill­fully applies a multi-hued palette of soft vio­lets, ochres, and browns to engen­der a sense of mem­ory and long­ing for far away peo­ple and places.

Suly’s work high­lights ele­men­tal images, using dra­matic ploys such as con­trasts in scale, shifts in focus, mir­rored reflec­tions, stac­cato images, and mul­ti­ple or lay­ered sur­faces. Sen­sory per­cep­tion for Suly is a spir­i­tual activ­ity, one that leads to a height­ened aware­ness of both nature and culture—this thought process points to a new kind of realism—one that is engaged with the actual processes of life. Yet, it also ref­er­ences the the­o­ret­i­cal avant-garde con­cep­tions of decon­struc­tion emerg­ing dur­ing Mod­ernism. Her work is intense, yet mov­ing, pow­er­ful yet sen­si­tive. Gath­er­ing her sub­jects in her field of vision, she draws on her inner world, invit­ing us to join her on a jour­ney of dis­cov­ery of the essence of being, depict­ing new truths of the mean­ing of exis­tence. Draw­ing us into an enig­matic and lux­u­ri­ous world of imag­i­na­tion, seduc­tion, and spirit, she cre­ates organic shape and flow­ing shapely con­tours. Her lus­cious approach is inspired.

Born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, she was exposed to art from a very young age. Before turn­ing 20 the artist has immi­grated to Israel and stud­ied at Sem­i­nar Ha’kibbutzim to become a teacher. For many years Suly’s inter­est focused on design and all its forms. 13 years ago the multi-disciplinary artist decided to devote her­self to art. She quickly cre­ated an over­ture that rep­re­sents a cross­roads of East and West. Draw­ing upon sources as var­ied as Ori­en­tal­ism, Byzan­tine art, and even Myce­naean met­al­work, the artist also exhibits more con­tem­po­rary ref­er­ences, includ­ing Art Nou­veau sym­bol­ism, and mod­ernist Abstrac­tion. Exe­cuted in a strongly styl­ized paint­ing method, the work is dis­tin­guished by lay­ered shapes and ele­gant color. Traips­ing across a broad oeu­vre that shifts and morphs through­out time and space, Suly is an artist like no other. Not con­strained by the rhetoric and dog­mas of style, she marches to the beat of her own drum, mov­ing among sev­eral approaches to cre­ation, to best enable her own free­dom of expres­sion. Even so, the energy and vigor of her explo­sive impres­sion­is­tic still land­scapes, the lush and sump­tu­ous qual­i­ties of her still life’s, and the play­ful, yet eerie impli­ca­tions of her real­ist works—all work together in con­cert, evinc­ing a solid body of unity and con­ti­gu­ity between indi­vid­ual works that rep­re­sent a total­iz­ing per­spec­tive that demon­strates the artist’s joie-de-vivre and rev­er­ence for life’s mysteries.

Closely in touch with the nat­ural and organic forms, shapes, and col­ors of nature, Suly’s work vibrates with a spe­cial power unique in the con­tem­po­rary art scene. In Land­scapes, a series of post-impressionist/neo-expressionist paint­ings, the viewer is pre­sented with works that are bold, ani­mated, and vision­ary. In one oil-on-canvas work, a stun­ning land­scape and seascape are com­bined in an effort­less fusion which, at the core brings to mind a gush­ing fountain-like blos­som of fire­works ren­dered in agi­tated mul­ti­hued Tech­ni­color strokes, all radi­at­ing against a shimmering-black ground. Rem­i­nis­cent of the Futur­ist artist, Gia­como Balla’s iconic image Street Light, Suly takes Balla’s inno­va­tions one step fur­ther: she breaks beyond the con­ven­tions of rep­re­sen­ta­tion fully enfold­ing the sparks of energy into a realm of pure experience.

Another ground­break­ing work, Thicket, also pushes bound­aries in new and excit­ing ways. An oil-on-canvas work, Thicket’s com­po­si­tion con­sists of a ground of almost snakeskin-like tex­ture in a rich cerulean blue, upon which free-floating geo­met­ric shapes of earth-toned geo­met­ric shapes. Like Paul Klee’s mod­ernist rumi­na­tions on the decon­structed grid, Suly orches­trates abstract rhythms of tran­quil­ity and eccen­tric­ity in all its geo­met­ric poten­tial­i­ties. Trees, car­ries ref­er­ences that go back in time to a much more dis­tant past. Bring­ing to mind the ancient tribal works of the pre­his­toric ages, the image ref­er­ences an abstrac­tion and pat­tern that recalls a sun-like god of fire, burn­ing in her own effigy of flames and solar pas­sion. Rev­el­ing in her own prim­i­tive and pri­mal urges, Suly has accessed a range of influ­ences through art his­tory to best express her inner pas­sions and artis­tic instincts.

It is also obvi­ous that works like these take nature as their point of departure—its nat­ural ebbs and flows, expo­nen­tial growth pat­terns, and the vital­ity of mother earth’s spir­i­tual energy all merge and flow on the sur­face of her can­vas. Another series that chooses to care­fully observe nature, yet in a totally new per­spec­tive, is her series of volup­tuous, yet sur­real instal­la­tions and wall sculp­tures. Draw­ing to mind the con­tem­pla­tive qual­ity of Ger­hard Richter, these crawl­ing objects and envi­ron­ments are placed in abstract locales of lumi­nous pinks, topaz and sap­phire.
In each of her works, regard­less of the medium or sub­ject, the rhythms and pat­terns Suly cre­ates are com­pelling and dis­tinc­tive. Her rich appli­ca­tion of paint, the bal­ance and flows cre­ated on the can­vas sur­face, all rep­re­sent a zeal­ous vision of an ardent enthu­si­ast. Rely­ing equally on her uncon­scious, and the world around her for inspi­ra­tion, she employs a phi­los­o­phy and approach embraced by many poets… Per­sonal exper­i­men­ta­tion and an open­ness to forms enable Suly to reach into a deep inside the soul, and allow her to recre­ate these images with fer­vor on the sur­face, gor­geously apply­ing the medium of paint with beauty and sen­si­tiv­ity, cap­tur­ing an oth­er­worldly spirit in their mag­i­cal rem­i­nis­cences of mem­ory and hope.

Ulti­mately, Suly’s work is a med­i­ta­tion on nat­ural life force ener­gies, uni­ver­sal and speak­ing a truth to those from all walks of life. At its core, her work strad­dles the line between rep­re­sen­ta­tion and abstrac­tion, reveal­ing how ordi­nary objects often serve as a point of depar­ture for an artist’s vision, or, alter­na­tively, how an artist’s abstracted forms may sub­tly sug­gest rec­og­niz­able ele­ments. Such work addresses three sig­nif­i­cant pre­oc­cu­pa­tions in con­tem­po­rary art: shift­ing per­cep­tions of iden­tity; explo­rations of the polit­i­cal land­scape; and the notion of the sub­lime and the dema­te­ri­al­iza­tion of the art object. The artist’s strength lies within this fluid move­ment between gen­res and cat­e­gories. Caught between descrip­tion and dream­like states, and the observed and the imag­ined, Suly’s work trans­forms the nat­ural world into poetic visions and fan­tasy, while still uti­liz­ing sym­bolic ele­ments to con­vey psy­cho­log­i­cal ideas and empha­size the “free­dom” of art from tra­di­tional culture.