|1954, Fergana, Uzbekistan,|
|mixed media artist, poet, writer|
|born in 1954, he emigrated to Israel in 1990, and then moved to Holland in 1998, where he still lives and works|
Gregory Kohelet was born in Uzbekistan, moved to Israel and now lives in Holland. A mixed media artist he also writes poetry and is inspired by kabbalah.
Gregory Kohelet was born in Fergana, Uzbekistan in 1954. His father, Anatoly Kapzan was a well-known sculptor and gave the young Gregory his first art lessons. Kapzan originally came from the Ukraine and moved to Fergana, which attracted people from all over the Soviet Union, making the city a very multi-cultural one. Gregory Kohelet, as he became known in Israel, regularly went hiking with his father in the mountains and wild landscape of the countryside. In 1969 Kohelet went to the capital, Tashkent, to study art at the Art College, completing his studies in 1973. Gregory Kohelet then continued his art training at the Academy of Art in Tashkent where he studied a wide variety of art, from Japanese to European art styles, graduating in 1981. Gregory Kohelet started showing his work in 1981 and participated in many group exhibitions while also teaching at art colleges in Fergana and Tashkent. In 1990 with the beginning of the collapse of the Soviet Union Kohelet emigrated to Israel.
In Israel, like many immigrants, he changed his name and adopted the name Gregory Kohelet. He was initially drawn to Jerusalem where Kohelet felt very spiritually inspired and became interested in the mysticism of kabbalah. Kohelet’s art in Israel had a naïve, lyrical-realism style mixed with some surrealistic elements. He portrayed the city of Jerusalem in a stylized way and also painted biblical stories like Noah’s Ark which are attractive to children. Kohelet also painted his wife and children in this appealing way, producing serigraph prints as well as paintings in a variety of media. Gregory Kohelet also worked producing mixed media pieces reminiscent of Jewish ritual objects like tefillin. Exhibiting regularly in Jerusalem and abroad, he began travel around Europe and eventually, in 1998, Gregory Kohelet decided to relocate to Amsterdam, Holland.
Settling in Amsterdam, Gregory Kohelet was attracted to what he saw as its magical qualities and he began to draw inspiration from the very different landscape of Holland as compared to Israel and his native Uzbekistan. The flat open expanses of the Netherlands, often shrouded in mist, enabled Kohelet to connect with his imagination, the hidden and the secret, continuing his journey of self-discovery, a process that he started in Jerusalem. Exposed to the famous Dutch artists like Rembrandt and Breughel, Gregory Kohelet’s style evolved and developed and he began to create more mixed media pieces and as well as writing poetry. The work Kohelet produced in Jerusalem were often cityscapes full of sunlight and joy whilst his most recent work reflects the greyer and more subdued landscape and seascapes of Holland. He is also currently working on a book on Kabbalah and Art.
Gregory Kohelet continues to exhibit on a regular basis, mostly in Holland, although he has shown his work in both solo shows and group exhibitions in galleries as far apart as Tashkent and New York. Kohelet’s work is in many collections world-wide, everywhere from Australia to the United States and can also be found online.