Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery
at Fairfield University
203.254.4000 ext. 2969
Today's Israelis - A Country In Transition
Na'ama Moshav, ISR 1997, #135 IRIS, 20 x 20 inches
"Today's Israelis - A Country In Transition," a photo documentary by Bruce Bennett, will open with a gala reception on Sunday, June 13, 1999 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., at the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery, located in the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on the campus of Fairfield University. Viewing hours will continue Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon-4 p.m., through July 25.
"This exhibit is full of history and tremendous energy," said Dr. Diana Mille, director of the Thomas T. Walsh Art Gallery. "Bruce Bennett captures the complexity of the Israeli world, and on the walls are pictures of Russian Jews and native Bedouins, Ethiopian Jews and Moroccan Jews. What they share is a pilgrimage toward peace, patience and greater understanding."
A native of Greenwich, Conn., Mr. Bennett currently works out of his studio in Rochester, N.Y. As a youngster, his parents were highly active in the United Jewish Appeal and between the ages of 10 and 16 he had the opportunity to travel to Israel half a dozen times, making many friends and gaining an appreciation for the the country's rich heritage and traditions. "Living in Israel profoundly increased my appreciation of Judaism and my Jewish lineage," said Bennett. "I learned more of its longevity and the complexities of the Diaspora, and Israel's on-going policy of solicitation. What began as a personal journey became a quest to reveal the bigger picture of life in Israel."
A constant motif in Bennett's work is the humanity, strength and labor of individuals and it's communities whose survival depends on their ability to live with change. The exhibit includes Bennett's 1991 newsbreaking coverage of the arrival of the Ethiopian Jewry in the "Promised Land"
"My goal is to preserve Israel's maturing identity, to create a reference point for a greater understanding of its multicultural people and their story of transition."
Bruce Bennett's work has been exhibited in over 200 solo and group shows since 1989. Juried exhibitions at national, international and regional levels have brought more than 50 First Place and Best of Show awards. More than 75 leading museums, galleries and private collectors across the United States and abroad have acquired work from these portfolios. Selected collections include: New York (The Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum), Washington (The National Museum of American Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art), Israel (The Beth Hatefutsoth Museum of the Jewish Diaspora, The Museum of Bedouin Culture, The Israel Museum), Texas (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston), Florida (Museum of Fine Arts, Norton Gallery) and Pennsylvania (The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies).
Since 1983, Bennett has served as photography instructor for The Norman Howard School, in suburban Rochester, N.Y., working with 5th-12th grade students with learning disabilities. "My own dyslexia has helped me understand the challenge of traditionally organized instruction," said Bennett. "Today, I encourage learning that is an alternative to this method. Communicating through photography allows me to translate and share experiences with the diverse groups I encounter. Alter receiving my Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rochester Institute for Technology in 1987, my focus turned to life in tightly knit and often isolated communities. I search for fundamental values that enable people to live with harmony - regardless of their economic status - in or adjacent to modern complex societies."
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