Navigating through fantasy and reality are essential to Ronen Azulay’s work, His life journey from Israel to New York as an artist, sexual being and immigrant have been a roadmap to his creativity. These interwoven narratives are pieced together in his work through layers of paint and repurposed textiles. As you examine each area, you can feel these different realities playing off of each other on his patchwork canvases.
Every piece of fabric is reborn and salvaged carrying its own story before being joined with other materials. Reclaimed materials highlight a key theme in his work, movement and migration. His art mirrors a thrilling journey into an unfamiliar place with all of its complexities, trying to assimilate to a new identity or reality (while stay true to his background and roots)
AGAINST THE GRAIN
In this series, Ronen Azulay continues to transform scraps of denim into geometric shapes, sews them together to emphasize stitches and selvedge edges — a roadmap to a reconstructed canvas. Later he manipulates the reengineered canvas with several different techniques, adding and extracting layers of color. The result is this unique composition rich in texture, shape and color.
Humanity has always been on the move. Throughout history, we have migrated in search of new opportunities, as well as to escape persecution, conflict and poverty. Early humans were nomadic, traveling in search of food, shelter, and safety. Today, people move for many different reasons, including economic, political, cultural, religious, and environmental factors.
Using recycled materials in his art, particularly denim, Ronen Azulay engages in a conversation around movement. While pushing boundaries as an artist he simultaneously refers to his background and personal story while no longer relying solely on conventional tools. In this body of work he adapts everyday materials, stretches and reshapes them. This allows him to explore proportion, composition and space. From this point instead of painting and adding layers of color Azulay reverses the process and extracts layers of color. By doing so a migration of color starts to form, from its original ground to endless rich shades and tones of itself. This process enables him to modify the surface and then add layers of color. This cycle conveys a philosophical and symbolic narrative about color, identity, shape, transformation and adaptation.
This body of work reflects the shift in my daily environment, from corporate office to artist’s studio. I have been reflecting on my role as a consumer in our world of mass production. My aim is to slow down the process by recycling materials, using them as new media and tools. I incorporate items castoff from my former life as a fashion designer, including repurposed denim. I have put aside traditional applications and techniques, and developed my own.
Key themes from my past work remain present, but global economic stewardship has become an essential part of my work. I am obsessed with how I, as an artist, can contribute to a healthy cultural ecosystem. My goal is to reconcile the economic prosperity of our fast fashion/digital age with the environmental impact, by finding ways to reuse materials and continue the important global dialogue around sustainability in all creative fields.