Tell us about yourself and your journey towards becoming an artist.
I was always looking for a visual stimulus and drawing as a kid or as a teenager. Looking back at younger versions of myself it seems that sometimes the act of drawing felt liberating in an optimistic way and sometimes therapeutic, coming from a place of curiosity and pain. Drawing and painting is really what made me happy the most so I naturally became very dedicated. As time goes by and as you make more work, it becomes real. Really real. And takes up its own life. Art school and starting to show work in public was essentially helpful for me to be able to see the next work and to push myself confidently to keep on making. Only that way I think I was able to build and to find my own language, which just a few years ago was so very different to where I am now. I made many mistakes and lots of ‘failed’ experiments to find the good ones. I thought I knew what I wanted my work to be like, but the best thing painting taught me so far is to open myself up to the unknowns, to new kinds of languages to be found (while not forgetting that there are some which cannot be found at all).
The figures in your paintings appear like spirits- slipping in and out of immediacy. You often speak of them as being the painting themselves. Please tell us more about the protagonists in your paintings and the role you see them playing in informing your practice
When I paint I don’t exactly depict a figure – it’s more about the visceral experience itself, of painting, of projecting, expanding. Therefore the figures exist more as an encounter, as a fleeting moment, a glitch. It’s almost like they are there to take over the canvas but also extend it elsewhere. I see them as channels of exit and entrance into some kind of transcendence. On a personal level they hold many contradictions since they allow me to leave my own reality and slip into an alternative way of existing - or confront my very being blindly through painting, without a verbal or a traditional mode of thinking. They are all very feminine usually yes, with long hair, but I really don’t always see them in that way. I want people to see that they hold broader qualities than their obvious features, they each have their own energy and nuance. Courage, horror, fear, hope, playfulness...
You have a very unique voice that shines through in your works. How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?
Well firstly describing paintings in words is a very hard thing to do.. And I would say impossible. If I try to, I will say they are paintings about freedom, about time and sensation. They bring up presence and glimpses of different beings and figures through surfaces of paint erased, scraped off and added on. Coming in and out of an unknown or suggested spaces and sometimes include elements of nature. They deal with certainty and ambiguity all at once, with movement, speed, and stillness.
Please tell us more about your body of work in your current show at James Fuentes in New York
The works for New York felt very instinctive to make. I was still thinking of the paintings from my show with Painters Painting Paintings (PPP) which opened at the height of the pandemic. It included paintings merging my figures together with a variety of plants and flowers from my home in Tel Aviv as well as from where I live now in London. I wanted to continue in this course of thought, in repetition, and to look into nature more, perhaps especially in this time when in the back of my mind there is the serious issue of climate change and the destructive consequences for the ocean. After the pandemic cooled down, I had a chance to be by the sea in Israel and to travel around Italy and Spain. I knew that the sea and it’s powerful and fluid qualities is what I want to work around, since I was spending my time near the ocean and I could feel it’s visual and mental impression on me. The shells too hold these appealing ideas around the introvert vs extrovert, mysterious vs familiar, life and loss. It made a lot of sense for many reasons, as it acts as a metaphor to concepts I’m attracted to and one of them is time. Painting to me deals with time in the most interesting way and I love how it has the power almost to control the speed of living or sensing, either for the painter or for the viewer. There is an underlying attention within the paintings to how I and perhaps others today perceive time and memory, when what is usually prized for is constant presence, the restless and the hyperactive/productive. Having only some sections painted in a slow and considered rhythm, ‘interrupts’ some other painted areas and to me speaks for the importance of the contemplative and the reflective.
There seems to be a contradictory nature associated with your subject matter - inside and outside, life and death, abstraction and figuration, attraction and repulsion, to name a few. What compels you to explore dualities in your painting?
There is freedom and pleasure in embracing of contrast because you are forced to live with the complexity and the uncomfortable nature of life itself. Identity is never exclusively one thing; it holds many contradictions. Being able to live in difference is a powerful thing both personally and politically. Perhaps I am drawn to this concept as a woman and as someone who is Jewish and Israeli, which often means you are dealt with many difficult and grave human moral questions from a very young age about your own existence, pressured to navigate serious discrepancies. The undefined creates paths to new possibilities and new meanings, and Painting has a capacity to facilitate more than one thing, to be inclusive and to touch many notions at once. Paintings could help us unsee contradictions as contradictions. Painting demands you to make so many decisions and it is a quest you lead essentially into your own questions.
The way you explore painting has very much to do with the materiality of paint, its flexibilities and limitations. Can you elaborate a bit on what you are hoping to uncover in every painting you make?
At the core, I can’t really put words on it. But I would say that I look for colors and shapes, I try to make the painting interesting for myself to look at. I like to keep some things consistent, like in grammar, it’s a language, I like it to have a supporting structure. However I need some mistakes and change and every once in a while they need to be dangerously or genuinely bold before I get bored. I want to see new ways of making, variations, possibilities made real. Every new painting needs to challenge the last one, it needs to play. I like to move around when I paint so the materiality of paint itself is always in relation to my body and it’s movement. When it comes to revealing layers in this way that I do, I look for the edges of the tenderness together with the destructive or forceful.
You will be included in the Particle x Phillips group exhibition during Art Basel. How do you see the theme of the show, “Streams of Consciousness” informing your work, and particularly the one you have chosen to exhibit?
The work reacts to many human psychological questions and especially to introspection. But again, introspection itself is never resolved and is a contradiction in some way since no matter how much we could try to look inward we will never entirely bridge this gap into our most hidden mental spaces. Making the painting ‘Primal Winds’ was like trying to go through the walls of my existence. The image came up from merging recent memories with older ones in my mind, places I have been to, but it was painted without looking directly onto them but by evoking moods that fusion it all together.
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?
Freedom. Good humor. Justice. Equality. Feminism and Body image.
Can you name a few artists or art historical periods that have influenced your practice ?
There are really so many artists that I love looking at, not sure if see my practice following one or another more than the rest, but probably a mixture of it all. Hilma af klint, De Kooning, Guston, Louise Bourgeois, Courbet, Balthus, Munch, Monet, Cranach...I look a lot at ancient art, impressionism, German and abstract expressionism.
What's in the pipeline for you? Any exciting things you want to share?
I’m happy to say I will have a solo show this summer in Paris with Sultana Gallery, which I am truly very excited about!