Israeli American, contemporary.
Born 1952, Kibbutz Chatzerim, Negev, Israel.
For the last 30 years, David Zeldis has lived and worked in a one bedroom apartment in New York City, making as little contact as possible with the outside world. A fear of sharp objects forces him to fashion his own drawing implements and sharpen them with the edge of a nickel. It is under these constraints, and others brought on by his Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, that Zeldis makes his work; exhibiting a control and delicacy that belies the subject matter and the environment of their creation. Rendered in graphite, colored pencil or crayon, the subtle shading and deliberate line quality bring a touch of beauty to images of apocalyptic landscapes and mysterious, chambered interiors. Littered within these meticulously created spaces are the totemic forms of Zeldis’ experiences and thoughts – clocks, rats, lizards, flies and stars. Deeply symbolic and self- referential, the drawings convey the otherworldliness that is the interior of one’s mind. David Zeldis openly relocates his own interior to the paper and does so with uncanny precision. That clarity of vision enriches the world from which he has willfully withdrawn.
David Zeldis was born in 1952 in Beersheba, Israel. He lived on Kibbutz Hatzerim in the Negev and several moshavim before immigrating with his family to the United States at the age of 5 in 1958. After growing up in Brooklyn, NY, Zeldis attended the School of Visual Arts (New York) where he studied photography for one year before beginning to draw and write in earnest. Zeldis has had solo exhibitions at Cavin Morris Gallery (New York) and Luise Ross Gallery (New York), as well as at the Akron Museum (OH) and the New York State Historical Association (Cooperstown).
His work has been in numerous group exhibitions in both galleries and museums, including the Visionary Museum (Baltimore, MD), Craft and Folk Art Museum (San Francisco, CA), Noyes Museum (Oceansville, NJ), Nevada Art Museum (Las Vegas), Historical Society of Washington, DC, Edlin Fine Art Gallery (New York), Frank Miele Gallery (New York), Janet Fleisher Gallery (Philadelphia), and Marquard Gallery (Venice, CA) among others. Zeldis’ work can also be found in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, New York Historical Association (Cooperstown), Akron Art Museum (OH), Noyes Museum of Art (Oceansville, NJ) and the Visionary Museum (Baltimore, MD). David Zeldis is also the author of the novel The Time Sphere and a collection of poetry, Carmen’s Parakeet and Other Poems.
- Courtesy of Hirschl & Adler Modern
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2002, Perilous Beauty: The Drawings of David Zeldis, Akron Museum, Akron, OH
1995, Luise Ross Gallery, New York, NY
1987, Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York, NY
1983, New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown, NY
Selected Group Exhibitions
2009, Portraying Lincoln: Man of Many Faces, Historical Society of Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C.
2002, Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY
1999, Conviviality and Confetti, Noyes Museum, Oceansville, NJ
1999, Nathan D. Rosen Museum Gallery, Boca Raton, FL
1998, Nevada Art Museum, Las Vegas, NV
1998, The End is Near, Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD
1998, Frank Miele Gallery, New York, NY
1997, Marquard Gallery, Venice, CA
1996, Janet Fleisher Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
1995, Cavin-Morris Gallery, New York, NY
1994, 20th Century Self-Taught Artists, Noyes Museum of Art, Absecon, NJ
1993, New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown, NY
1990, Martin Sumers Graphics, New York, NY
1990, Primal Portraits: Adam and Eve Imagery as Seen by Twentieth Century American Self-Taught Artists, San Francisco Craft and Folk Art Museum, San Francisco, CA
Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY
Historical Society of Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C.
Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
New York HIstorical Association, Cooperstown, NY
Noyes Museum of Art, Oceansville, NJ
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD
Karlins, N. F., “In New York, A Mother-Son Self-Taught Duo,” Raw Vision, Summer 2015.
Carol Millsom, “David Zeldis: Drawing the Details”, Folk Art Messenger, Spring/Summer 2009 John Strausbaugh, “Outside In”, New York Press, Jan. 30-Feb. 5, 2002.
Roger Durbin, “Art of perfection in new Akron Art Museum exhibit”, West Side Leader, June 6, 2002.
Amy Antenora, “Perilous Beauty”, West Akron Sun, 2002.
Dorothy Shinn, “Drawings best seen in person”, Akron Beacon Journal, June 2002.
Lee Kogan, “Much Love to Bring”, Fine Arts Magazine, Spring 2000.
N. F. Karlins, “Mindscapes of Fantasy”, Raw Vision, 1998.
John Strausbaugh, “The End is Here”, New York Press, Dec. 9-15, 1998.
American Visionary Art Museum, The End is Near!: Visions of Apocolypse, Millenium and Utopia, Dilettante Press, 1998.
Rosenak, Chuck and Jan, Contemporary American Folk Art: A Collector’s Guide, Abbeville Press, 1996.
Ilka Scobie, “David Zeldis: Luise Ross Gallery”, Cover Magazine, March 1995.
Nancy F. Karlins, The Westsider, Jan.19-25, 1995.
Heritage: The Magazine of the New York State Historical Association, Vol.9, No.2, Winter 1993 Folk Art Finder, April-June 1991.