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Annual Winter Group Show


White Slate
Out of the Green
Shifting Season

In Contrast

Gallery Artists'07
Old World New World
Gallery Artists'06


Ilya Gefter was born in St. Petersburg , Russia in 1980, and lives in Canada since 1995. Ilya obtained his BFA with highest honors at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore , USA , where he was awarded a full tuition scholarship.

In 2001, Ilya studied at the Studio Art Centres International in Florence on a John Hirsh Scholarship for the Arts . He resided in Florence and traveled across Italy to study and copy the paintings and frescos of the Italian Renaissance. In 2003 Ilya was honoured with a Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant , which enabled him to travel to Italy for the second time and to study under Israel Hershberg at the International School of Art in Montecastello. In addition to his training in the visual arts, Ilya studied philosophy at York University in Toronto , Ontario .

Ilya was honoured with numerous awards that include the prestigious Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant , David Jacobs Scholarship , Academic Excellence Scholarship, John Hirsch Scholarship for the Arts, Art Gallery of Ontario Volunteer Committee Bursary Award , and a York University Entrance Scholarship.

As a part of his five solo and over 20 group exhibitions, Ilya's work has appeared in the Greater Toronto Area, Uxbridge, Port Perry, as well as in Baltimore , Maryland , in Jerusalem , Israel and in St. Petersburg , Russia . His pieces can be found in public and private collections in Canada , USA , Italy , Israel , Russia , and New Zealand .


During the summer time in Rome, afternoon light caresses the pilasters, stately colonnades, and deeply carved cornices, pitching plaster moldings and textures of battered marble into high relief.  Surfaces of buildings, ruins, and statues, break up into patches of saturated colors: oily yellows, burning oranges, and mellow violets.  Passing over the city, like a shadow gliding over the curves of a baroque façade, eyes gather more than the mind could ever contain. Although incapable of retaining what the eye sees, the consciousness remains charred by the beauty.  Etchings in the memory’s ache and grope for a form of release.   The essence of this pure visual experience is the beginning of my painting.

Setting up to paint and squeezing oil colors onto a palette, I immediately aligns myself with the history of the medium of painting, a history of no lesser length and complexity than that of Rome itself.  The medium carries within itself the weight of its past.  It is the weight of a tradition that stretches from ancient Egyptians’ artifice to Pompeian frescos and well into the 20th century.  I embrace this weight.   For visual culture is invariably greater than individual talent, and the physical act of painting, at its very best, is a participation in this culture. 

Painting from life, I not only grapple with the motif in front of me, but also with the long tradition behind.  The seductive uniqueness of the motif is to be merged with the principles of harmony and formal cohesiveness inherent in the medium.  This history of the medium informs the transcription of observed reality into the language of paint.  Thus, awareness of artistic tradition is carried into the experience of nature, and imparts context and meaning to the ungainly endeavor of painting outdoors on a busy thoroughfare in mid-July. 

August 2007
Rome- Toronto



1999-2003       Maryland Institute, College of Art; Baltimore, USA. BFA Summa cum Laude
2004    Jerusalem Studio School; Jerusalem, Israel
2003    International School or Art; Montecastello, Italy
2001    Studio Art Centers International; Florence, Italy
1999    York University; Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Solo Exibitions

2006 “Old World, New World”, Leonardo Gallery, Toronto, Canada(two-person Exhibitions)
2002 “Works on Paper”, Maryland Institute; Baltimore, USA
2002 “A Year in Italy”, Veni Vidi Gallery; Port Perry, Ontario, Canada
2001 “Encore”, Veni Vidi Gallery; Port Perry, Ontario, Canada
2000 “Works Thus Far”, Veni Vidi Gallery; Port Perry, Ontario, Canada

Selected Group Exibitions

2007  Presences, Painters and Sculptors Association, Tel Aviv, Israel
2005  Had Gadya, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel
2004  Unusual Suspects, Gallery One; Toronto, Ontario
2004  Group Show, XEXE Gallery; Toronto, Ontario
2003  The Contemporary Landscape/Cityscape, Sheppard Art Gallery; Ellicott City, USA


2004/05 Jerusalem Studio School , Jerusalem , Israel . Continuing Studies

Instructor Ginogli Center for the Arts, Jerusalem , Israel

2004 Magic Door Gallery; Sunderland , Ontario . Oil Painting Seminar


2007 Tradition of Representational Painting, Leonardo Galleries, Toronto, Ontario
2007 Gems on Paper, Jerusalem Studio School, Jerusalem, Israel
2006 The Origins of Portraiture; Tahana School for Figurative Art, Tel Aviv, Israel
2006 The Origins of Portraiture; Jerusalem Studio School, Jerusalem, Israel
2005Ancient Egyptian Portraiture; Jerusalem Studio School, Jerusalem, Israel
2003 Greek Painting; International School of Art, Montecastello di Vibio, Italy

Selected Grants And Awards

2003  Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, E. Greenshields Foundation, Canada
2003,  01,99 John Hirsch Scholarship for the Arts; JIAS Canada
2000,  99 YTV Achievement Awards Finalist; YTV Canada
2000  Juror's Award of Merit; Annual York Region Juried Exhibition
1999  David Jacobs Full Tuition Scholarship; Maryland Institute, College of Art
1999  Academic Excellence Scholarship; Maryland Institute, College of Art  

Public Collections

Jewish Immigrant Aid Services of Canada; Toronto, Ontario
Heintzman House; Markham, Ontario  

Private Collections

Israel, USA, Canada, Italy, Russia, New Zealand