דממה ביזרעאל – מגילת מסע
I am showing this work in the 2017 Jerusalem Biennale, in the group show “100 Years of the Balfour Declaration
The show opens tomorrow, Oct 2, at 17:00 in the Museum of the Underground Prisoners, in the Russian Compound, Jerusalem.
Built by the Czars as a hostel for Russian pilgrims, the museum later served the U.K. Mandate as a prison for those resisting their rule and striving for independence.
I am quite honored to have my work be the first exhibited after the entrance. As I hoped, it is hung in a long, vaulted passageway, and will be viewed as a narrative, read west to east, as the viewers walk by.
Gouache on panels, 46 x 366 cm. 18′ x 144″
דממה ביזרעאל, 2017
גואש על לוחות, 46 * 366 ס”מ
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Silence in Jezreel, or “Song of the Emek”, was composed in 1934, to romanticize the first, large Jewish settlement project, following the Balfour Declaration. This “Redemption” i.e. purchase of the land, was blessed by the British Mandate, which then still acted in accordance to the promises of the Declaration. It was a watershed With the start of construction, new archaeological discoveries showing showing the ancient Jewish presence in the Valley, fired up the settlers’ imagination.
I chose to tell our narrative of continuity and Zionism, as a travel scroll, passing through the string of valleys, from the Jordan to Haifa Bay. Icons from the 6th cent. synagogue mosaic at Bet Alpha are central to the work.
Thirty Triangles. Gouache, 46 x 61 cm. (18″ x 24″)
שלושים משולשים, 2017. גואש 46 * 61
Inspired by the “Crazy Quilts” traditionally made by African American women.
The composition, with its two, not quite balanced halves and with arrows pointing all over, defies all logic. But it works.
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.
בחמסין בקרה – מ”ברוש” של אהוד מנור ואריאל זילבר
באב אל ואד – מילים חיים גורי
נומה עמק ראץ תפארת מ”שיר העמק, מילים נתן אלטרמן
מארץ מרחקים מ”אל הציפור” מילים חיים נחמן ביאליק
Images from the Gallery Talk
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.
A peek at my painting process. Early May, 2013.
Pencil and ink, then gouache, on 3 “Claybord” panels. (Wood, coated with white clay.) 30 x 135 cm.
מטע זיתים #2 2013, גואש
Gouache 36 x 51
I pulled this out of my drawing cabinet, to show various brush and layering techniques to the students in my Diving into Color workshop. And then decided that it merits scanning. Not bad, huh?
On the very first day of each 6 meeting workshop, we discover the joys of unexpected color combinations, and the hidden beauty of ‘ugly” colors, when used in tandem with just the right neighbors. Muds can be such an elixir of life or fascination. Here, muds and grays add to the strangeness of the olive grove, and raise visual questions for the viewer.
By the second lesson, we are already investigated working in layers. What happens when color upon color are built up, leaving little glimpses to the shade partly hidden below?
Aah. I would love to teach a week long workshop in a vacation setting. Maybe in some old European farm. I get as much pleasure from seeing students eyes light up and think, “I CREATED THAT???!!!” as I get from painting myself.
תשעה בקבוקים פרסיים, פרואר 2015, גואש, 46 * 61 ס”מ
Gouache 46 x 61 cm.
I keep on finding new ways to approach the challenge of turning a lovely mess, into a non-functioning painting, and then to restore its dignity and intellect.
If only the real world was this simple.
כל פעם אני מוציא מסלול חדש בדרך לאתגר: להפוך בלאגן חינני ויפהפה, לציור לא מתפקד. ואז להחזיר לציור הנכשל את הכבוד, עצילות ותבונה
הלוואי שהיה כל כך פשוט לעשות כך העולם האמת
8 Persian Flasks, Feb 2015. Gouache and ink on paper, 46 x 61 cm
שמונה בקבוקים פרסיים, פברואר 2015ץ גואש ודיו על נייר 46 * 61 ס”מ
One more in the series, this one being particularly challenging.
I often tell my students that simplicity is important: When challenging the viewer with something confusing, they must limit additional stimuli.
The way that Braque and Picasso used restricted, neutral palettes for their Cubist still lives.
And as in cooking: Best not to use every spice in the kitchen, in each dish. Choose your direction, and emphasize it alone.
Good advice that I chose not to follow.
I did not to practice what I preach, in order to stretch my abilities to a new limit. I wanted to see how much chaos can still be contained in a viable composition and in a pretty, pleasant painting.