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Artwork from Israel with Soul and Spirit

April 22, 2014
Moran Fisher 
Body and Clothes, 2014
Watercolor on paper 
35 x 45 cm (13.78 x 17.72 in) 
Courtesy of The Artist

The world of art-making is so vast. After I lived in Europe in the mid 80’s, I was floored by the ignorance in America of what I considered monsters of creativity that were household names on the European continent.

So it was not surprising that I should stumble across a treasure trove of excellent, engaging and rigorous work of Israeli artists currently featured on a benefit auction on Paddle8. The selection was curated with non-dogmatic vision by Sharon Zoldan an astute art advisor who specializes in artwork from Israel. The sale benefits the Stephen S Wise Temple here in Los Angeles.

In an effort to embrace good work, especially good art that might fly under the radar, I’m going to highlight nine artists’ work, all of whose art appears in the BENEFIT Auction. The work and the artists are all new to me. It is both the appreciation of evocative fine art and the sense of discovery that has motivated me to broadcast this post. Furthermore for those of you in the Greater Los Angeles Area I would urge you to visit the works in person on Sunday May 4th, 2014 from 10am to 3pm and again the following day May 5th, 2014 from 7:30am to Noon. RSVP with Melanie Fisher (mfisher2@WiseLA.org) at the Stephen S. Wise Temple.

 *****

Tirtzah Bassel  The Gallerists, 2013 Duct tape on Plexiglas  48 x 36 x 3 cm (18.9 x 14.17 x 1.18 in)  Courtesy of Slag Gallery, Gitler &____ Gallery and the Artist  Signed on verso

Tirtzah Bassel
The Gallerists, 2013
Duct tape on Plexiglas
48 x 36 x 3 cm (18.9 x 14.17 x 1.18 in), Courtesy of Slag Gallery, Gitler Gallery and the Artist

The graphic line is most often associated with graphite or crayon or charcoal but there is nothing that says other media cannot be engaged. Tirtzah Bassel takes up just this challenge by drawing with Duct Tape. She has made large-scale installations of populated scenes in this medium. She is represented in this auction by a piece on Plexiglas titled The Gallerists. The figures have character and body language. The space in which they sit is economically delineated by perspective lines in yellow tape and a pedestal executed in the same color. The uncommon medium that so transfixes the viewer is merely an on-ramp to a remarkable tableau.

Click here for more Images by Tirtzah Bassel. Bassel’s Page in the Paddle8 Auction.

*****

Sivan Reuven  Untitled (White Series), 2011 Archival inkjet print  80 x 118 x 0.5 cm (31.5 x 46.46 x 0.2 in)  Edition of 5 Courtesy of The Artist  Signed on verso

Sivan Reuven
Untitled (White Series), 2011
Archival inkjet print
80 x 118 x 0.5 cm (31.5 x 46.46 x 0.2 in)
Edition of 5, Courtesy of The Artist

Black and White Photography can often seem so laced with nostalgia or preciousness. Sivan Reuven wrestles the medium from its quaint trappings. Her work is featured by several examples of her White Series. Reuven composes her shots as a modernist, stark lines and divisions observed in everyday settings. What is not shown is every bit the subject as what is. The Ping Pong Table is easily initially read as a landscape, horizon line with Moon. The table and net are registered and the perspective changes. Under further scrutiny, the player is playing by himself with the opposing side laid perpendicular to the surface. Each of these adjustments affects a parallel shift in metaphor. And in the hands of this remarkably gifted artist, the ordinary becomes sublime.

 Reuven’s page in the Paddle8 Auction.

*****

Orly Maiberg  Kinneret Crossing, 2013 Oil on canvas  140 x 180 x 3 cm (55.12 x 70.87 x 1.18 in)  Courtesy of The Artist

Orly Maiberg
Kinneret Crossing, 2013
Oil on canvas, 140 x 180 x 3 cm (55.12 x 70.87 x 1.18 in), Courtesy of The Artist

Orly Maiberg applies paint with an authoritative touch to evoke swimmers and a churning sea. Vacation and leisure time might be one’s first read. And one wouldn’t be wrong. But Maiberg’s subject is known in Hebrew as ha’tzlicha, the crossing of the Kinneret Lake, an annual sporting event. With this knowledge it’s not far to imagine the seeking of refuge, exile and escape. The Sea of Galilee is a site that holds great religious, cultural and national importance. Maiberg taps these allusions while never being illustrative. The metaphors are multiple and the tactile experience mellifluous.

 Click here for more Information on Orly Maiberg.  Maiberg’s page in the Paddle8 Auction.

*****

Ofir Dor  Woman With Big Head, 2013 Oil on canvas  33 x 28 x 2 cm (12.99 x 11.02 x 0.79 in)  Courtesy of The Artist

Ofir Dor
Woman With Big Head, 2013
Oil on canvas, 33 x 28 x 2 cm (12.99 x 11.02 x 0.79 in), Courtesy of The Artist

Ofir Dor’s brushstrokes have velocity. Colors accelerate across the canvas and careen in twists and turns that offer the viewer’s eye a racing track of immense pleasure. That these brushstrokes congeal into expressive figure portraits of women can almost seem secondary but they do. The women, sometimes sensual often suggestive, are strangely anonymous. They are form and movement rather than feature or identity. But herein lies the electricity they exude. Dor, needless to say, battles masters like deKooning but he carves out a relevance all his own.

More infomation on Ofir Dor. Dor’s page in the Paddle8 Auction.

*****

Ofer Lellouche  Geraniums, 1995 Etching on paper  110 x 150 cm (43.31 x 59.06 in)  Edition of 19 Courtesy of The Artist  Signed

Ofer Lellouche
Geraniums, 1995
Etching on paper, 110 x 150 cm (43.31 x 59.06 in)
Edition of 19, Courtesy of The Artist

Ofer Lellouche by all accounts is considered a master and elder statesman of Fine Art in Israel. Having been introduced only recently, I can only agree with the moniker and the respect it evokes. Lellouche is represented in the auction by a tactile etching of Geraniums in black and white. The scale of the print is large placing the viewer deep in a flowerbed and at eye level with the plants. More leaves are drawn than flowers, which gives the pieces either the anticipation of pre-blossom or the ennui of post-blossom. The artist is obviously a classicist, which is refreshing indeed. Lellouche is also ample proof that the gold to be mined from the classic still life, portrait or landscape genres has yet to be depleted.

More Information on Ofer Lellouche. Lellouche’s page in the Paddle8 Auction.

*****

Neta Harari  Now they're all coal, 2011 Oil on plywood  160 x 120 x 3 cm (62.99 x 47.24 x 1.18 in)  Courtesy of Inga Gallery and the Artist

Neta Harari
Now they’re all coal, 2011
Oil on plywood, 160 x 120 x 3 cm (62.99 x 47.24 x 1.18 in), Courtesy of Inga Gallery and the Artist

Neta Harari’s paintings hover between illustration, fantasy and nightmare. The depiction of violence is damn near impossible to pull off without pathos but Harari achieves it handsomely. Chaos and cacophony are present too. And those horses place the event either outside of history or in an out-take of Game of Thrones. One thing is for sure, impact is intended and achieved. An effective implementation of terror is the idea that the aggressors are visible but the victims not. This paradigm immediately puts the viewer into the roll of the victim. By not seeing, the heart is galvanized into empathy.

Click here for more information on Neta Harari. Harari’s page in the Paddle8 Auction.

*****

Moran Fisher  Body and Clothes, 2014 Watercolor on paper  35 x 45 cm (13.78 x 17.72 in)  Courtesy of The Artist

Moran Fisher
Body and Clothes, 2014
Watercolor on paper, 35 x 45 cm (13.78 x 17.72 in), Courtesy of The Artist

Moran Fisher may just be my personal favorite of this selection. It quite obvious that Ms. Fisher is a painter of remarkable talent, instinct and skill. Her recent work has involved what only appears to be effortless depictions of fabric, folds and drapes. But the subject is the human body underneath these fabrics. The watercolor here is liquid and assured. The translucence suggests silk or rayon. Pattern remains pattern. But the compositions electrify the eye and transcend the possible banality of subject matter. There’s so much sensuality to Fisher’s painting that it could make you blush. By my take, Fisher may be the freshest artist in this exhibit, but to my eye her touch holds the most fascination. I literally can’t wait to see more of her work.

Click here for Moran Fisher’s Facebook Page.  Fisher’s page in Paddle8 Auction.

*****

Maya Gold  Untitled, 2013 Oil on canvas  127 x 150 x 3.5 cm (50 x 59.06 x 1.38 in)  Courtesy of The Artist  Signed on verso

Maya Gold
Untitled, 2013
Oil on canvas, 127 x 150 x 3.5 cm (50 x 59.06 x 1.38 in), Courtesy of The Artist

I must admit to having an extreme fondness for any work of work that coaxes from me a macro/micro perspectival shift. Maya Gold’s painting does this in spades. The honeycomb-like grid pattern initially reads like a tile of a bathroom floor. Of course this same shape is also used in paving stones so it’s natural that one’s read changes when seeing the reclining figure placed in the center. But is this figure injured or relaxing? And the figure does not entirely lock the perspective as landscape either. The bird’s eye view is unusual for landscape anyway. And even though the hues are rather grisaille, the allusion to honey comb never completely fades away. Gold’s image and technique resonate like a passage of music by Mozart that you find yourself inadvertently humming.

 Gold’s page in the Paddle8 Auction.

 *****

Eran Shakine  Pool, 1996 Oil on cardboard mounted on canvas  56 x 57 x 4 cm (22.05 x 22.44 x 1.57 in)  Courtesy of The Artist

Eran Shakine
Pool, 1996
Oil on cardboard mounted on canvas, 56 x 57 x 4 cm (22.05 x 22.44 x 1.57 in)
Courtesy of The Artist

Eran Shakine is the one artist whose work I was familiar. His line drawings, more like line paintings are narratively evocative. Some contain text that is often both witty and disturbing. The economy of touch could recall Julian Opie at times but in a more organic/analogue way. Shakine’s piece in the auction is from an older Pool series. Here he favored architectural depictions of Roman Baths. The execution also makes a strong turn away from the economical line drawing/painting of his recent work. Texture, saturated hues, drips and splashes match the moisture and liquid subject matter. The feel is a little less contemporary and delves into the timeless allusions of history and containment.

Shakine’s earlier work. Shakine’s page in the Paddle8 Auction.

The entire auction can be viewed here. I have included links to the artist’s own websites when available. And click on the individual images to view larger/higher quality images of the works.

Please join the conversation in the comments section.

Mario M. Muller, Los Angeles, April 21st, 2014

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