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ntary Turning
Caesarea, 2007 Gamia, 2007
Dead Sea (coast), 2007 Dead Sea (Ein Gedi), 2007


Learn about our other concurrent exhibit: Humor as Beauty

Gamia II, 2007

For the past several years, Anna Dvorak’s work focused almost exclusively on the geologic rift zones of Colorado. Rift zones beguile with their appearance of calm and permanence, yet they are borne of tumult—unleashing pattern, form, structure and intense color in the wake of explosive, almost unimaginable stress on a geologic scale.

In her most recent series of paintings, Toward Abstraction, Anna’s focus shifts to the Afro-Syrian Rift within Israel. Caused by the separation of the African and Arabian tectonic plates, this region is sometimes known as the Great Rift Valley of the Middle East and East Africa. Like her many series of Colorado paintings, this work evidences Anna’s ability to capture the tension and beauty of geologic rift zones. It shows the subtlety of her approach: starting from natural points of reference, but, through a consistent process, layering flows of acrylic across unstained canvas, moving her away from a direct treatment of the subject matter, moving the canvas ever closer to abstraction.

This series of paintings largely follows the Afro-Syrian Rift within Israel, drawing inspiration first near the top of the Great Rift Valley, high above the Kinneret (or Sea of Galilee), fed by the Jordan River to its North and follows to the south where the Kinneret again meets the Jordan River. The series also explores the contrast between the aridity and fecundity of the region, as seen in the Ein Gedi paintings inspired by the beauty and near-surrealism of the naturally occurring oasis that borders the Northwestern region of the Dead Sea, further down along the rift valley. Moving south past Ein Gedi, the series turns to the historic plateau Masada, built high above the Dead Sea. Masada is best known as the site of the last of the four Jewish cities to fall to the Romans during the Jewish-Roman wars (according to Josephus Flavius).

Gallery Installation

The metaphor of layering and sedimentation carries into the final paintings for the series. No words can fully convey the complexity of the layers of civilization that comprise the city of Jerusalem—physically, spiritually or politically. It is, in the same moment, a city of incredible majesty and profound tragedy. These final paintings, then, may both reference and, in the same moment, break from the natural tension of the rifts and of the layers. But they assuredly serve as a visual prayer for peace within the region.

Gallery Installation

Anna Dvorak is a Minnesota native who divides her time between Colorado and Minneapolis, where she lives with her husband, Chris Kopka.

Dvorak received a B.A. in art from the College of St Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1991, and continued her arts education at the Art Students League in New York City for 14 months in 1999-2000, studying with Ronnie Landfield, George Cannata, and William Scharf.

For further information contact Anna Dvorak at: or

Learn about our other concurrent exhibit: Humor as Beauty