welcome to mike leaf's studio

mike leaf & "friends"

Mike Leaf searched for a number of years for a means of expression that would reflect his provincial surroundings and yet be relevant to the times. On a six month working trip to Mexico and Guatamala in 1981 he was much influenced by the 'primitive' wooden sculptures found in the small village churches of the interior. On returning to Safed he began experimenting with various materials and developed a mixed media based on papier mache. His knowledge of color and form, gained after seventeen years of oil painting and lino and woodcut printing, was then used to color the finished pieces. In 1996 he spent some months in Bali, Indonesia, living in a small village of wood carvers, learning from them the traditional carving techniques. Besides sculpting he continues to paint and produce lino, woodcut and silk screen prints. Since 1985 he has operated a gallery in Safed where there is a permanent exhibition of his works. In 2003 he was awarded a grant from the prestigious Jackson Pollock Krasner Foundation of New York. He is a self taught artist.

Mike Leaf was born in London, England in 1934. He spent his youth wandering through North and Central Africa. He arrived in Israel in 1954. A member of Kibbutz Amiad, he parachuted into Sinai in 1956 and was severely wounded. Like many untutored artists and writers, he held a vast range of unconventional jobs until finally settling down to full time painting in 1968. Since then he has participated in a number of group exhibitions and one man shows.


The Liberty Gallery - New Orleans
The Shayne Gallery - Montreal
Dona Gracia Gallery - Tiberias
Haramati - Tel Aviv
13 1/2 - Yaffa
Stricoff Gallery - Soho, New York
La luna gallery Chiang mai - Thailand

1975 Natanya - Municipal Show rooms
1977 Vitkin - Shohar Gallery
1981 Mexico City - Pedro Gerson Gallery
1982 London - The Pentonville Galleries
1984 Tiberias - Yad Lebanim
1988 Tel Aviv - Gallery The Artist's House
1989 Santa Monica California - Q Gallery
1993 Israel - Hazorayah Museum
1994 Israel - Hazorayah Museum
2001 New york - in 2001 he was awarded a stipendia from the prestigeous Lee Krasner - Jackson Pollock foundation New york
2005 Israel - Hazoraya Museum
Since 1985 permanent exibition in Sfat, Israel

The Jerusalem Post
1989 Dr. Edith Vargo-Biro, art critic.

'Art which is also amusing is rare here; it is rather a treat to come across Mike Leaf's Lino-cuts and papier mache sculptures. These images seem full of life, not because they are exact copies of the models but because of their inner vitality. It is remarkable that a self-taught sculptor should be able so well to capture the character of these local types.'

The Jerusalem Post
1993, Angela Levine, art critic

 'His delightful images poke gentle fun at our national foibles and feelings. We recognize ourselves in Leaf's scenarios pushing to get on a bus, arguing in a traffic jam, stuffing our trollies with the latest advertised rubbish at the supermarket or out to have fun under the scorching sun, barbecuing ourselves or a piece of meat. One hopes this show, a treat for for children of all ages from 9 to 90 will also be shown in other parts of the country.

 The term ‘Artist’ is used so indiscriminately these days that it has lost its original aura of reverence. Once upon a time it was only bestowed on a painter or sculptor who had consistently produced works of great excellence.
Anybody who occasionally paints as a hobby on the weekends is now honored with the title. The public is currently deluged by articles of pompous, philosophical garbage regarding art exhibitions. Works by painters and sculptors are dissected and analyzed by hordes of effete and insensitive art critics and historians in newspapers and cultural magazines in which the writer’s main purpose seems to be the egoistic flaunting of his own obtuse erudite theories.
Artists are educated to break with tradition as soon as possible in their careers and forcibly create something ‘Original’.
Originality {even if it is insipid and uninspiring} is ‘in’, natural development and aesthetic sensibility is out. I have seen an exhibition by an artist who collected in glass jars his daily feces and wrote on each jar what he ate that day.
This has been accompanied by a long scholarly theses expounding why the exhibiting of his daily defecations is art.
Yet another exhibition of installations was made up of bits of wood crudely nailed together, bales of straw and broken-down furniture collected from dumps, each configuration having an explanatory title two and a half kilometers long.
The current clique of pundits may have deemed these works worthy of museum exhibitions, but I had the feeling that I was looking at the naked emperor and that all the elitist critical bullshit describing the above works were the emperors non-existent new clothes. 
Because of this I do not call myself an artist.
I feel the title has been degraded. I also have no idea if in this day and age my creations can be classified as art and honestly I do not think this is important.
All I can say is: “This is what I do. I do it sincerely and without pretensions. It is an honest personal statement and hopefully here and there someone is turned on or jogged into new thought or finds aesthetic satisfaction or is even inspired.”     


All rights reserved to Mike Leaf©
contact:  leaf_mikerachel@yahoo.com     Tel:  972 4 6971558  mobile   972 54 7376693

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 פיסול בעיסת נייר, עיסת נייר, פיסול, קריקטורה, אמנות ישראלית, אמנות צפת, יודאיקה, פסלים, גלריה, גלריות צפת,מיק ליף, מייק ליף


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