at Mike Weiss Gallery
in the Chelsea 24th area
This event has ended - (2012-11-29 - 2013-01-05)
Yigal Ozeri salutes his country of origin in new oil paintings at Mike Weiss Gallery, that fuse the concept of the warrior goddess with the “universal soldier,” paying homage to heroine of the show, whose looks and reputed combat skills rival the attributes of the mythological goddess, Atalanta. His show entitled “Territory” explores an essential human archetype in direct, uncompromising images, rarely conjured in art today. In the United Kingdom, people honor and venerate the Queen as the figurehead that symbolizes the nation. In Israel, the nation places its hopes and expectations for the future, even its very survival, upon the reigning queen of the military.
These metaphoric depictions of a modern day warrior-goddess are both paradoxical and unique. Here we find a woman whose features are as alluring as her sense of duty is strong. Yet, this girl is more than a soldier. The majority of the works reveal the private thoughts that flicker over the facial expressions of a celebrated public figure. When pictured relaxing, immersed in clear shallow waters, she is transformed into a flower-strewn sea nymph at one with life, whose thoughts and feelings converge while she experiences the healing waters of the Mediterranean Sea. She is depicted as a sensuous female who is part of the earth, part of nature and part of the unpleasant reality that all of nature faces, the need for self-defense, translated into defense of one’s country. The heroine is a highly respected young Israeli girl, who is required, as are all Israeli women, to serve as a soldier.
This is not the Estes Photorealism of the exalted ketchup bottle. Instead, Ozeri accentuates the focused details that photography provides, adding the depth of illusionistic space that distinguishes the painting process. Here the two modes nourish and sustain one another. Ozeri gently caresses the fine points with soft strokes to reinforce the girl’s humanity despite her military role. This rigor is highlighted in a Renaissance inspired Da Vinci-like triangular composition in which the girl’s head and torso are framed by the ocean and sky. Ozeri presents her as Olympian, standing tall on a hillside strewn with rocks, serious, young, the ideal symbol of her mother country. The sky hints metaphorically at eternity, as the water suggests the deep realms often associated with the unconscious mind.
Ozeri’s skillfully rendered imagery stresses the Herculean resolve that is required to face a perilous life. His detailed realistic technique infuses the variety of settings, gestures and facial expressions with the quality of energy that makes these believable portraits pictures of a real woman. His works sensitively capture the deity and the earthbound dreamer in a female who retains womanly dreaminess while she fulfills a significant leadership role in her life.
“Territory” is defined as “the domain over which a sovereign state exercises jurisdiction.” It also refers to a “region, a large tract of land, a sphere or a province.” These works reference an interior region of personal memory, nostalgia and loss; the universal sense of bereavement, experienced by all, as we respond to the dictates of lives and destinies that propel us forward to conquer new challenges in a sequence of endless change and transformation.