Bio

Matan Ben Cnaan (b.1980) is an Israeli painter whose work combines classical elements and biblical narratives with contemporary art and present-day themes.

Ben Cnaan is the first and only Israeli artist to receive 1st place in the most prestigious award for realistic painters: The BP Portrait Award (2015), The National Portrait Gallery, London for his painting ‘Annabelle and Guy’. The painting narrates the tragic and harrowing tale of Jephthah and his daughter.


The main focus of his work is “scene painting” in which he creates and exposes the viewer to complex moral situations, and explores moral dilemmas, inter-personal relationships, and human behavior. Adopting classical elements into his figurative paintings creates a pictorial language whose vocabulary allows him to express these complex issues on the canvas. The basic sentence structure of this language consists of gestures and positioning acting as verbs and shapes and colors as nouns and adjectives.


Ben Cnaan draws considerable inspiration from the codex of complex, morally laden stories – the bible. He reinterprets the stories and recast them with present day people, to communicate the ageless quality of these basic issues.

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THE 
PAINTINGS

Selected Exhibitions

2021

The Bureaucrat

Painting by Matan Ben Cnaan

Reading by David Grossman

The Israel Museum

Jerusalem, Israel

2019

Group Show

Tel Aviv Museum

Tel Aviv, Israel

2018

Solo Show

Tel Aviv Museum

Tel Aviv, Israel

2015

BP Portrait Award

National Portrait Gallery

London, England 

2014

Group Show

Fresh Paint “Special Edition” Art Fair

Tel Aviv, Israel

2013

Solo Show

Ha’tahana Gallery

Tel Aviv, Israel

2012

Bound/Unbound

JLima- Studio Gallery

Easton, PA

2012

Group Show

Grand Art Contemporary Art Gallery

Haifa, Israel

2011

Shvartse Vilde Haye

Zemack Contemporary Art 

Tel Aviv, Israel

2010

Frame to Reality

Haifa Museum of Art

Haifa, Israel

2009

Lolita

The Office Gallery

Tel Aviv, Israel

2009

Group Show

Fresh Paint Art Fair 

Tel Aviv, Israel

2008

Solo Show

Emek-Yisrael’s College Gallery

Jezreel Valley, Israel

2008

Solo Show

Fresh Paint Art Fair

Tel Aviv, Israel

2008

Giluy Shem “Works by Promising Graduates from all of Israel”

Haifa University

Haifa, Israel

2007

Graduation Show

Oranim College

Tivon, Israel

 

Acknowledgements

I was 11 years of age when my mother offered me my late grandfather's oil colors. Three decades have passed since then. 
Dozens of paintings, multiple exhibitions, and a variety of achievements have become possible due to the support and encouragement of my close family, friends and many others.

I would like to acknowledge my highly revered tutors, who have instilled in me invaluable knowledge, as well as my fellow artists and students, with whom I have an ongoing and fruitful discourse, for their critique, observations and honest opinions which have been a fountain of inspiration to me. 
  
I thank the collectors who appreciate my work and without whose support I would not have been able to do what I do best. To all cooperative creators from other disciplines such as literature, music, philosophy and art history, who have enriched my work with meaningful layers of their interpretations, profound insights, texts and creativity - I offer appreciation from the bottom of my heart. 


My deep gratitude also goes to the photographers, my website designer, curators, and my framer. Thanks to them my paintings are exhibited and look at their best both in the real space and cyberspace.

Last but not least, to YOU,
who will hopefully follow my creation and enjoy my work - Thank You!

Photos and reproductions by: Avi Amsalem, Studio Shuki Kook, Shir Hassin, Elad Sarig