For artist Max Budovitch ’13, whose exhibit “Time is a Place” is opening at the Slifka Center on Thursday, the intersection between the concepts of time and space takes on a significance beyond the field of art.
Starting today, the Allan and Leah Rabinowitz Gallery at the Slifka Center will display four acrylic paintings by Budovitch: “Challenging Verses,” “Snow in Jerusalem,” “Winter Storm on the Mediterranean” and “Jaffa Clock Tower.” The artist said he painted all four over the past few months in Tel Aviv, where he currently lives. He explained that his art is shaped by the place where he creates it — and the significance of different spaces varies over time.
Budovitch said that the relationship between place and time, one of the themes the exhibit aims to explore, is also relevant in his personal life.
“When you’re in Chicago, it just feels like the place that you’re from,” Budovitch said. “Moving [to Tel Aviv] with no end in sight has given me a whole different perspective.”
This new perspective is both literal and figurative. In addition to having the freedom of being in a place where he feels like an outsider, Budovitch has found new ideas for his art in Israel. “Snow in Jerusalem,” for instance, was inspired by a snowstorm this December; “Jaffa Clock Tower” features a well-known Tel Aviv landmark, he explained.
Budovitch said some of his ideas stem from his intellectual interests, such as philosophy — his major at Yale — and literature. Writers Mahmoud Darwish, Carl Sandburg and Saul Bellow are some of his main inspirations. Budovitch noted that certain religious texts, such as some verses in the Book of Ezra, as well as Marc Chagall’s paintings, have played a role in his work. His inspirations, he said, are not confined to the visual realm.
“It’s easier for me to be idea-driven than visually driven,” he explained.
Quotations by Chagall and Bellow will be featured on the gallery walls, next to an interactive board on which viewers will be invited to write their responses to the prompt “My time and place…”
Lucy Partman ’14, who curated the exhibit, described this interactive element as an opportunity for attendees to reflect on the relevance of the exhibit’s themes in their own lives.
Partman explained that the board and the exhibit as a whole are part of the Slifka Center’s larger effort to expand its art community. She said she was familiar with Budovitch and his work, so she and the rest of the informal Slifka Arts Committee invited him to present his art.
“There was always a vibrant arts community at Slifka,” said Chino Kwan, Slifka’s Director of Operations. “But it was mainly staff driven.”
In an effort to change this, Partman said, Slifka has recently hosted two fully undergraduate-run exhibits, and there are at least three more lined up for the rest of the semester. Partman said she hopes “Time is a Place” and the following exhibits will make Slifka’s student-focused artistic endeavors more widely known on campus.
To accommodate the upcoming exhibits, the four paintings comprising “Time is a Place” will be moved elsewhere at the end of February — likely to Slifka’s chapel, Partman said — but they will remain on display in the building until the end of the semester.
“Time is a Place” opens on Thursday at 4 p.m.