My Work at the Jerusalem Biennale 2015

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I am honored to participate in this years Jerusalem Biennale – in the group show “A Sense of Space, A Sense of Place, curated by my talented colleague Mallory Serebrin. The show is in a unique location – a century old Armenian villa, that served for half a century as a school for deaf children. The exterior is magnificent. The interior – reminds me of my artwork! The work is a polydych, of four panels, called “Common Cypress”, the botanical name of the Mediterranean cypress. In Hebrew – ברוש מצוי Each panel is named buy a line from a song of the Israeli cannon, revealing a strong connection to this unique place.

Brosh-Matzui-A2000

Hamsin

בחמסין בקרה – מ”ברוש” של אהוד מנור ואריאל זילבר

Bab-el-Wad900

באב אל ואד – מילים חיים גורי

Numa-Eretz900

נומה עמק ראץ תפארת מ”שיר העמק, מילים נתן אלטרמן

Me-eretz-Merhakim900

מארץ מרחקים מ”אל הציפור” מילים חיים נחמן ביאליק

Images from the Gallery Talk

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Curious Yellow

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Cypress Trees in Late Summer Fields 2015

Gouache over mixed media, on a koalin coated panel. 41 x 66 cm.

ברושים בשדות סוף הקיץ 2015

גואש מעל מדיות מעורבות, על לוחות המצופות בחימר לבן. 46 5* 66 ס”מ

Yellow is a tricky color. It is easy to paint monochromatic works in all greens, blues or reds. One simply mixes in small amounts of other colors to gain a wide pallet, of varying depths and intensities and pureness. There are also many and so very different pigments in those families to start from. Yet, after all of that messing and punching and kneading, these colors easily remain what we consider to be the families of greens, blues and reds.

Yellows are so much more sensitive! How do we create a “dark yellow”? After adding what miniscule amount of another color, does the “yellow” stop being yellow? Very little!

So, how much must I stray away from that Crayola crayon definition of Yellow, to create a vibrant painting, with sufficient contrasts?

Those of us living with our bone dry summers are familiar with this pallet. The wild grass turns to dusty yellow. The red roofs  and dark cypresses are coated with fine yellow gray loess soil, carried in from the Sahara and Syrian Desert.

Yet our summer is not merely sun burnt. Delicacy can be found in the dried thistles. The rhythmic curvatures of the rolling hills and terraces reveal themselves. The sun casts yellow, and shadows in the hills reveal a lavender hue.

And I Saw a Cypress | ואני ראיתי ברוש

Cypress - gouache painting by @Chanan Mazal 2014

And I saw a cypress tree, standing firm in a field. Facing the sun, hot desert winds and frost. Facing off the storm.

The cypress had doubled over, and bowed down to the weeds, without breaking.
And now, that cypress stands up straight up facing the sea, and is still green and towering….

If only I could learn the path of that single tree….

From the upbeat song Brosh / Cypress. Lyrics by Ehud Manor, melody Ariel Zilber.

This happy song ends however with self doubt,
And I am like an infant, broken and incapable. Unable to stand firm, facing the sun, the desert winds and frost. Unable to face the storm. La la la.

Cypress - painting by Chanan Mazal ©2014  Jerusalem

This series reflects the battle between my hidden, wild and naughty exuberance, and my mask of decorum. While painting, I felt as if my own, real life value conflicts, were right at the surface. I enhanced my true confusion, by repeatedly reversing the sense of order and disorder, and of positive and negative images within each painting.

Cypress - gouache painting by Chanan Mazal ©2014 Jerusalem

Tall cypress trees and falling leaves or else tall ladders appear in all paintings. Are they connecting Heaven and Earth? Or perhaps connecting body and soul? Balancing freedom with obligation? Symbols of mortality and the afterlife? Self-discipline and commitment?

Whatever. 

חשבון נפש

Cypress-Gouache painting by Chanan Mazal ©2014 Jerusalem

16 Works in gouache over pencil, pastel and ink, on clay coated wooden panels. 30×30 30×40 and 40×50 cm. Painted in spring and summer 2014.



Before he left us so young, I drank coffee next to the lyricist Ehud Manor and his family in the airport. Several travelers complemented the shy celeb, and interrupting their breakfast.

A cleaning woman, a gold toothed immigrant from Soviet Georgia speaking very broken Hebrew, simply looked for a kind face. She found an unwanted ticket entitling passengers to a free Hebrew language newspaper. From all of the dozens of people around, she chose to ask Ehud to collect one from the news stand, somehow explaining that she wanted her children to practice reading Hebrew.

She sensed correctly whom to pick. Ehud left his coffee, and brought it to her with his modest smile.

I have been busy…

"And I Saw a Cypress" Gouache painting by Chanan Mazal, 2014 I

I have been busy exploring the border between drawing and painting. Gouache over pencil, pastel, oil pastel, calligraphy ink…. and whatever else was within arms reach. 30.5 x 30.5 on Ampersand Clay Panels (Koalin – white clay on hardboard. An artist’s dream come true. Alas, they ain’t available here in Israel, and my secret source has run dry.)