Ophrah Shemesh

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Ophrah Shemesh (December 9, 1952) is an Israeli-American artist, best known for her intense, existentially themed oil and tempera paintings of women and men.[1][2][3]

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Haifa, Israel, to Albert Shemesh and Carmella-Daisy Levy. Albert was an important Lehi (Fighters for the Freedom of Israel) activist in Iraq, before the creation of the state of Israel.[4] Shemesh studied at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design[5] in Jerusalem (1972-1976).

In 1973 Israeli filmmaker, director, and friend from childhood Amos Gitai[6] cast her in a short film, My Mother at the Seashore,[7] and would later give her a leading role in Golem, the Spirit of Exile[8] (1991), also starring Hanna Schygulla, Sam Fuller, and Bernardo Bertolucci.

Shemesh attended the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture from 1979-1983.[5] In 1986, she was one of a new group of teachers brought in by then dean, Bruce Gagnier[9] and has been a member of the faculty since.[10] Shemesh has also taught and lectured at a variety of other schools and programs, including the Syracuse University College of Visual and Performing Arts,[11] Kremer Pigments, and the International School of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture.[12]

Shemesh’s work is in the permanent collection of Collezione Maramotti[13] and appears in Mario Diacono (2012), Archetypes and Historicity: Painting and Other Radical Forms, 1995-2007,[14] Ophrah Shemesh: Silence of the Sirens, 2008-2011,[15] and Max Tomasinelli (2011), Portraits of Artists.[16]

Solo exhibitions[edit]

Ophrah Shemesh and model by Max Tomasinelli for Portraits of Artists,[17] 2011
  • Harms & Twombly,[18][19] New York, NY, 2017
  • Freight & Volume,[20] New York, NY, 2008
  • Stephen Wirtz Gallery,[21] San Francisco, CA, 2003
  • Baumgartner Gallery,[2] New York, NY, 2002
  • Guy McIntyre Gallery,[22] New York, NY, 1997
  • Mario Diacono Gallery,[23] Boston, MA, 1995
  • Galleria S.A.L.E.S.,[24] Rome, Italy, 1995
  • Galleria Philippe Daverio,[25] Milan, Italy, 1982


  • Tosi, Barbara, “Tanti Retratti di Divi Non Illustri,” La Repubblica, May 24, 1995
  • Coen, Vittoria, “Ophrah Shemesh at Galleria S.A.L.E.S.,” Flash Art, 1995
  • Sherman, Mary, “Ophrah Shemesh, Mario Diacono,” ARTnews, December 1995.
  • Ebony, David, “David Ebony’s Top Ten of 1997: Ophrah Shemesh at Guy McIntyre,” Artnet, December 23, 1997.
  • Gagnier, Bruce Mitchel, “Ophrah Shemesh at Guy McIntyre,” Art in America, September, 1998.
  • Goodman, Jonathan, “Ophrah Shemesh at Baumgartner,” Art in America, February, 2003.
  • Amy, Michaël J., “Ophrah Shemesh: Freight + Volume,” Art in America, November, 2008.
  • Cohen, David, “Deliciously Distressed,” New York Sun, March 13, 2008.


  1. ^ Tosi, Barbara (May 24, 1995). "Tanti Retratti di Divi Non Illustri". La Repubblica. 
  2. ^ a b Goodman, Jonathan (February 2003). "Ophrah Shemesh at Baumgartner". Art in America. 
  3. ^ Cohen, David (March 13, 2008). "Deliciously Distressed". New York Sun. 
  4. ^ Meir-Glitzenstein, Esther (2004). Zionism in an Arab Country: Jews in Iraq in the 1940s. Routledge. pp. 122–123. ISBN 0714655791. 
  5. ^ a b "New York Studio School biography". Archived from the original on 2010-12-09. 
  6. ^ Privett, Ray (2008). Amos Gitai: Exile and Atonement. Cinema Purgatorio LLC. p. 36. ISBN 0615223419. 
  7. ^ Gitai, Amos. "My Mother at the Seashore". Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "Golem, the Spirit of Exile". imdb.com. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  9. ^ Samet, Jennifer Sachs (February 17, 2005). "Many Styles, Drawn Together: The Studio School at 40". New York Sun. 
  10. ^ "The Continuous Mark: 40 Years of the New York Studio School". 
  11. ^ "Syracuse University College of Visual & Performing Arts". 
  12. ^ "The International School of Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture". 
  13. ^ "Collezione Maramotti". 
  14. ^ Diacono, Mario (2012). Archetypes and Historicity: Painting and Other Radical Forms, 1995-2007. Silvana Editoriale. ISBN 8836623255. Archived from the original on 2015-05-30. 
  15. ^ Shemesh, Ophrah (2012). Silence of the Sirens, 2008-2011. 
  16. ^ Tomasinelli, Max. "Portraits of Artists". 
  17. ^ "Max Tomasinelli - Artist - Photographer". www.portraitsofartists.com. 
  18. ^ "OPHRAH SHEMESH Boundless Co-Curated by Loretta Harms & Caio Twombly June 1-20th". Retrieved 2017-05-25. 
  19. ^ "Ophrah Shemesh". www.ophrahshemesh.com. Retrieved 2017-05-25. 
  20. ^ "Freight + Volume Gallery". 
  21. ^ "Stephen Wirtz Gallery". 
  22. ^ "Art Guide". New York Times. December 5, 1997. 
  23. ^ Diacono, Mario (1995). Ophrah Shemesh. Mario Diacono Gallery. 
  24. ^ Coen, Vittoria (1995). "Ophrah Shemesh S.A.L.E.S". Flash Art. 
  25. ^ Daverio, Philippe (1992). Ophrah. Galleria Philippe Daverio.