The painter Uri Ely from Israel.
"The world was once pure and beautiful. We had received a gift, and the gift was our earth. Since then we have polluted and ruined it. But we can bring an end to this destruction and create a new paradise with love and light," says painter Uri Ely, who turned 38 on June 16, 1996.
The young man with dark, deep magnetic eyes is one of the most gifted painters in Europe. After the introduction in Europe of his series "The Creation of the World", which has generated phenomenal interest in the artist, he has been called "a modern Rembrandt" on account of his unmistakeable painting style and color range.
Uly, with a short beard, long hair and and the distant look of a mystic, introduced the result of the last 18 months of his creative work at an art exhibition in Cologne. The sixty paintings comprising his cyclus "The Creation of the World" present us with views of the universe as though seen by an ancient seer or prophet. His colors are bold, compelling the viewer to silently contemplate each work of art. One could stay absorbed in looking at some of these works for hours on end, without tiring of these portrayals of the young artist's visions of the forces of Nature.
But Uri Ely is not only a painter. The unique energy and power of his hands have made him into a healer and he is said to be able to see the past, present and the future. When he first began to paint at the age of 21 in the surrealistic style, he drew inspiration from the secret teachings of Jewish mysticism, holy scriptures and meditation.
Ely was born in 1958 in Haifa, Israel. His father, Eliahu Ely and his uncle Yitzhak Nesher were his his first art teachers. His uncle was a famous painter, in whose name a museum was built in Tiberias. Later he studied drawing techniques and the science of colors at the Tel Aviv College of Art, under the famous painter and esoteric teacher Joseph Ralt.
The hidden secrets of Jewish mysticism have intrigued and inspired Uri as long as he can remember. He was trying to study the secrets of the Kabbalah and the Zohar on his own. "But I always knew and felt that somewhere in this world there was a spiritual teacher waiting for me, who was meant to lead me further on. His picture was alive in front of my inner eye for years. I have travelled to 24 countries, searching for him. Then, when I at last returned home, I found him directly next to my own doorstep, in Old Jaffa near Tel Aviv," recalls Uri. And it is always so: when the student is ready, the teacher appears.
At the age of 18, Uri joined the military service, and shortly thereafter was severely wounded. He spent one whole year recovering in a hospital. It was at this time that he started meditating and learning to paint. "All of my paintings I have seen first in meditation, with all the details and colors. During meditation I see visions of other dimensions. For me, meditation is also a source of strength, calmness, and rest; therefore I need only very little sleep, about 4 hours a day," says the painter-seer. Other meditators have been able to feel Uri Ely's experiences in meditation through viewing and immersing themselves in his paintings. He himself believes that meditation projects an individual's energy into the paintings, and the paintings in turn project back an energy of their own. "The energy you send out, is the same energy which will come back to you," insists the artist. "And this applies in other areas of our lives and interaction with others, too: how can one expect to grow roses, if one only plants weeds? How can you expect friendship, love and respect if you sow jealousy, envy and greed?"
The cyclus of Uri Ely's paintings now on exhibition in Germany consists of 60 unique, mystical paintings of Uri's visions received in meditations over the past 18 months in Israel. Among them are, for instance "The Second Day," "Meteor - Creation from Explosion," "Birth of a Soul", "A New Beginning." The painting "Birth of a Soul", the favorite painting of Ely's spiritual master Ephraim Mudzelevich, was recently acquired by the United States Museum of European Art. Many of the other pieces of the cyclus were acquired by European art collectors, both young and old.
A large painting, "Meditation" at once caught my attention while conducting a day-long, very intensive and deeply personal interview with the artist. "Look at this painting and tell me what you feel, " suggested Uri to me. After a few moments I said that my eyes and my consciousness were irresistibly drawn to the pure white light in the upper corner of the picture. "Yes, this effect is the same on everybody," said Uri. The eye will inevitably travel upwards, to the higher realm, to light," explains Uri. In the lower part of the painting which the eye sees first, the dark green prevails. This color relaxes our body and brings us tranquility and calmness. Above it rises up Uri Ely's characteristic and immediately recognizable, very intense royal blue: it makes us ready to communicate with the spiritual dimension. Further on, the color violet leads the eye to the pure, white light in the upper right-hand corner of the picture.
"Everyone has a divine spark in them, but people do not know it. How much could we achieve here, on this earth, if we only tried! It could be the paradise it once was and the paradise it was meant to be. Too many people give up, and place their hopes in the hereafter; but that is wrong. People need to learn how to share once again. Sharing with others, that is the secret of life," says the painter with a bright look in his eyes.
What are his plans for the future? Uri Ely's wish is to continue to paint, to help people and the world around him with his art. Several exhibitions in Europe have been scheduled for the fall of 1996, and the artist is expected to visit the United States this summer to make arrangements for a series of exhibitions in the United States in 1997. Several of his original oil paintings from the cyclus "The Creation of the World" can be viewed already now at the Museum of European Art, 10545 Main Street, Clarence, New York 14031 (USA).
Consul B. John Zavrel
Director, Museum of European Art July 3, 1996
Copyright 1999 Museum of European Art