Aviva Green was born in Washington, D.C. and studied at Boston's School of the Museum of Fine Arts. She studied at the Avni Institute in Tel Aviv and the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem and received her degrees from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 1978 and 1979. One of her most famous early works is the commissioned two piece soft sculpture permanently installed under the Chagall Windows at the chapel of the Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Two paintings, Soft and Landing are on permanent exhibition at Harvard University's Science Center. In 1981-82 the U.S. State Department sponsored a traveling exhibition of her work which included shows at the Benjamin Franklin Gallery of the American Embassy in Mexico City and at the museums of Guadalajara and Monterey. In 1984, Ms. Green was a guest of the Nolde Foundation in Seebul, Germany. In September, 1984 she was appointed Director of the Mather House Art Program at Harvard University where she taught drawing and painting. In addition to her position at Mather House she received a university appointment in 1986-2001 at Harvard University. In 1987 she was a guest of the Schlumberger Foundation at Les Treilles in southern France. In 1993, a mid career survey of her work was held at the Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba House, NYC. In 1995, a one woman survey exhibition of her work was held at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.
In 2001 she was awarded a residency at the Pouch Cove Artists’ Foundation in Pouch Cove, Newfoundland and a second residency was awarded to her in 2004. In 2005-7 she made several visits to Banff in the Canadian Rockies from which the “Canyon Series” emerged. . From 2002 - 2014 she was engaged in several commissions by major US corporations. In the summer of 2010 she traveled to Beijing, China to study Chines art.
She exhibits widely and her paintings form part of substantial private and corporate collections worldwide. Green's studio is located on Manhattan's Lower East Side, where she lives and works.
"Aviva Green, who uses a unique mixture to create boldly colored pastel paintings, controverts the idea of pastel as a delicate, softly colored medium.”
— Frederica Wechsler, Arts in the Academy
“She is known for her signature paintings of ‘vivid slabs of color’ - the pastels suggest without spelling out - flowers, trees, leaves and other organic forms which spurt upwards with a geyser's energy. Increasing the drama is Green's use of oversize hatchmarks and her way of making free, fluid shapes advance… toward us.
— Christine Temin, The Boston Globe
“[A] sensuous profusion of color-soaked leaf, frond, seed and pod shapes so dynamically assertive you can almost hear the sounds of their growth." “On large-scale panels, Ms. Green evokes the flamboyant patches of fertility that slyly erupt from the forbidding desert. Her lush, loosely handled organic forms… [done in] hot rich colors… are big enough to make the viewer feel a frisson of menace.”
— Grace Gluek, New York Observer
"With her assertive, freely textural approach to painting, Green reminds us of the work of such giants of 20th century giants of twentieth century paintings as Henri Matisse and Philip Guston.
— Marek Bartelik, Art critic read more
Avni Institute of Art, Tel Aviv 1973-74,
Bezalel Academy of Art, Jerusalem 1974-75
School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 1975-79 graduated SMFA, 1978, fifth year program 1979
The Museum School, Boston, teaching assistant
Studio Plus, Jerusalem, instructor, painting and drawing
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Mather House Art Program, director, painting and drawing
Harvard University, Cambridge MA, Visiting Artist
I don't look at landscape and say "Wow, look at that, I'm going to paint that view". For me to really see nature I need some deep connectedness to place. I don't think I could work without the physical engagement with those weird palms and wacky flowers that I find when I'm walking in the old neighborhoods of Tel Aviv. Or trekking among the canyons near Banff in Canada, touching the upright stones in the canyon walls. Or roaming in upstate New York, discovering a secret garden in the woods. The palms, stones, flowers, are ebullient--sexual--mysterious. Or sometimes just: funny. And very iconic for me.
Of course I take notes while on location. But it's not a question of bringing ideas back with me to work on. I need to somehow carry those trees and clouds and rivers back to New York, get them through the door of my studio. The adventure, the panorama, the connectedness with place and thing is very intense. And freeing: the connectedness is the anchor and the liberator. I think in modern life it's very hard to find that anchor, or the freedom and confidence it brings.
It took years to figure out my formula of crushing pastels, powdered pigments and various binders (including milk) and working them as a viscous paint. I prep the large surfaces as I would for oil paintings. The diluted gesso is applied in many layers. The pastel paints are mixed in large sealed containers. The surface can be tacked to the wall or flat close to the floor where I can get right into it. Handling pastels in this way gives paintings a finish that is not sealed by varnish as in oils or plasticized as in acrylics. So the results are more confronting: more organic, alive.
Beginnings are always a struggle. I have to get the forms down and establish the basic structure. There is a lot of reworking of the initial drawing. Even so, I'll have to relinquish the drawing later to the paint or the pastel or whatever material I'm using at the time. The image has a mind of its own and the material needs to breathe. I have to be careful not to smother the drawing, never to get precious about what I'm doing. And I've got to avoid the literal, so the symbols can find their own voice and balance. It's my work to cajole, to manipulate the materials, to control the image, the surface, the picture, to bring it together without losing the forms or the freshness. The image is shifting, changing. The space is deepening. I may be working from pencil drawings or from the single flower that I've propped on my table. I don't work from photos. I lose the bounce of real life when I've tried to work from photos.
For me, color is key. It's what I look for first when I look at painting. There’s a kind of synesthesia that comes with the colors. I want an organic surface but it's not surface effect I'm after. I want to paint by really feeling the warm red, the yellow or the cool green, the blue as it spreads on the paper. One day, I found a wonderful hibiscus - a very sexy, seductive, lush, powerful, red hibiscus. All I could do was try to crawl into that flower, crawl into the center and kind of feel my way around and try to rest in it, wrestle with it, be nurtured by it and bring whatever nurturing I can to it. That's why scale is sometimes needed. The monumental palm tree or flower--that's so that the viewer, along with me, can be reduced. We are made very small and then we can see from the inside out.
Check back for future exhibitions
to see Aviva's Gallery of Photos
Studio Plus, Jerusalem, Israel “High Key”(solo)
Galeria Estela Shapiro, Mexico City, (group)
Benjamin Franklin Gallery, US Embassy, Mexico City (solo)
Museum of Art, Guadelajara, Mexico (solo)
Museum of Art, Monterey, Mexico (solo)
Science Center, Harvard University, “Between Abstraction and Figuration” (solo)
Sky Club Gallery, “Abstractions”, Boston (solo)
Boston Federal Reserve Gallery, Boston (group)
Mather House Gallery, Harvard University, “Work in Pastels” (solo)
Pindar Gallery, NYC “On Guard” (solo)
University of MA @ Amherst “Color, Color” (solo)
Pindar Gallery, NYC “About Nature” (solo)
Gallery at Cecil's, Boston (solo)
Jewish Center, Princeton University (solo)
Pindar Gallery, NYC (solo)
Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba, “The Wadi Series” (solo)
Frankel Nathanson Gallery, Mapelwood, NJ (solo)
Kraushaar Gallery, NYC (group)
Kent Place Gallery, Mapelwood, NJ (solo)
National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC “Scale of Emotion”((solo)
Belenky Gallery, “Innana” NYC (solo)
Belenky Gallery “A New Eden” (solo)
Belenky Gallery NYC (group)
Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba
Commissions 1975 -2014:
Ark Mantle, Young Israel Synagogue, Brookline, MA
Ark Cover and Table Cover, Chagall Chapel, Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem
Tapestry, private collection, Toronto, CA
Scroll Cover, Amit Organization
Tapestry, Cong. Mishkan Tefilah, Newton, MA
Mural, Maxim Hotel, Tel Aviv, Israel
50 Paintings, Corporate Headquarters, South Hanley Rd., St. Louis
Calligraphy, private collection, Woodstock, NY
100 Paintings, Corporate Woods Drive, Bridgeton, MO
Awards and Residencies:
Boit Exhibition Award, Boston MA
Guest, The Nolde Foundation, Seebul, Germany
Visiting Artist Residency, Harvard University
Guest, The Schlumberger Foundation, Les Treilles, France
Residency, Pouch Cove Arts Foundation, Newfoundland, CA
Guest, Banff Conference, Banff, Canada
Residency, Pouch Cove Arts Foundation, Newfoundland, CA
“About Pastels”, with Wolf Kahn, Harvard University
“The Wadi Series” Interview, ABC TV
“Earth - Life” panel discussion, Educational Alliance, New York
“The Nature of Art”, Lecture at Baruch College
“Images and Culture” Amit Organization, Boston, MA
“Recollections” , “The Graven Image” The National Synagogue, Washington, D.C.
“Chagall in Jerusalem” Leon Amiel, publisher
“Under Chagall Windows” cover Hadassah Magazine, Boston MA
“Demons” OXFAM national poster
“Patriarch’s Door”, cover National Hadassah Magazine
Catalogue of Exhibition at Kenkeleba House (The Wadi Series)
“Indian Head”, cover, National Academy of Science Magazine
Catalogue of Exhibition at the National Academy of Sciences