Israeli photographer, Uri Mahlev , is an artist with purpose and vision. His digital prints are large and imposing, beckoning our attention with a magnetic strength. A survey of his work reveals wide and variegated interests; he is comfortable working with both man-made and natural settings, creating expansive tableaus or crafting virtually abstract images. Aesthetic considerations are generally the vanguard of each photo, yet we often can feel that some event or truth lies beyond the picture plane. “I try to build a tension, a space, a gap between the immediately seen subjects and the unseen happening,” Mahlev explains. “That creative, dynamic, tense space enables the viewer to react and interact with an inner motion and feeling, forming something new.” Details may remain obfuscated, and time and place no longer matter since we are visitors in his world. This is the beauty of Mahlev's work; he is persistently asking us to question what we are seeing and what we are feeling in response.
Motion, rhythm, and repetition, alongside a limited palette, allow curious forms, both solid and ephemeral, to dominate the picture. Roads stretch outward across rolling hills in deep perspective, taking our eyes and spirits along for the ride. Other photographs find him in a more peaceful, introspective state, particularly notable in the case of his portraits, which continue to pique our interest with psychological drama. Often the subjects will have their faces obscured and their attention directed away from the viewer, or will be represented as toiling in an epic dance of work and play. These images are among his most enigmatic and haunting, for they resonate deeply with our own sense of purpose, struggling in relative obscurity amongst the other inhabitants of this immense world.
Mahlev has had a long relationship with photography, beginning at the age of eight. He is now a practicing psychologist, which he finds adds a deeper insight into the creative and intuitive aspect of picture taking. He exhibits frequently in Tel Aviv and New York and has had works featured in several publications. Mahlev lives and works in Israel.
In creating extraordinary images that abstract and decontextualize everyday objects and occurrences, Uri Mahlev leads the viewer to radical re-evaluations of the relationship between space, time, motion and subjects. His images are striking— often stark in black and white, they capture moments, frozen movement, the blur of speed and dynamism. The point of these images is not necessarily to seek ‘understand' them, but rather to connect with them on an intuitive and natural level. They evoke a reaction from the inner self— the tension in each composition, the negative space of time and placement allow the viewer to detach from ‘objective reality' and find a deeper insight. There is a joyous quality to the images. They seem to revel in the interaction with nature, object and photographic process, the limitless possibilities they hold. Mahlev engages with the viewer through his own enthusiasm, realized after years of experimentation through Art Photography. Uri Mahlev works on his Art Photography in tandem with his psychology practice in Israel. Since his first showing in December 2008, he has held four exhibitions in Israel and received an Excellent award by B&W magazine.