A PAINTING called ‘The Large Turnstile,’ made with acrylic on canvas, is a part of the Trapeze art exhibit at the Gate 3 gallery in Haifa.
(photo credit: RITA KAITZ)
One of the only galleries dedicated to cutting-edge contemporary art in Haifa, Gate 3 gallery offers an interesting exhibition currently showcasing five woman artists. The exhibition includes video, installation and traditional media such as painting, photography and silk screen prints. The title of the exhibition implies a kind of delicate balancing act and one gets the sense the intellectual and emotional content of the show is just that: An equilibrium established between opposing forces, a deliberate attempt to find harmony amidst conflicting emotions.
One is immediately struck by Hanan Abu-Hussein’s installation consisting of pipes, shoes and a bucket so arranged as a kind of huge insect. Titled “Destruction of the Father,” she seems to reflect on a bad relationship with her father, as the pipes seem to go no-where, contorted into an odd insect-like shape, unruly and twisted. The father-image is obviously extremely significant on a psychological level and the artist seems to imply that a certain painful series of memories attended by the undulating pipes that are rusting and covered over in places with a dirt-white paint.
Orit Siman-Tov’s photographs of the Haifa Port and sea seems to at once hold a certain aesthetic charm while being foreboding. For it is the sea that metaphorically alludes to the passions and its seeming stasis suggest a calm akin to death and inertness.
On the other hand, the obvious tranquility also suggests a culmination of a battle where now only order and peace prevail. Such dual conceptions reflect, perhaps the pleasure principle on the one hand and the death instinct, on the other – a binary that is difficult to resolve.
Rita Kaitz’s large paintings with a kind of installation-like wood backing demonstrate a free, expressive brush work wherein a kind of expressive realism, if you will is expressed. Her subject matter appears to be about loss and the potential for the undoing of all things, as the for example one image hides the face, hands peeking through ominous holes; while in another a carousel seems to imply the circularity of a life that goes no-where, in the context of a game that is mere childish playfulness; playfulness with a sense of circus-like non-meaning, both contrived and superficial.
I enjoyed the video work by Sigal Ben-David, an extra special work in the show room, where she explores a series of events on a boat of sorts, wherein she places an easel in odd positions on the boat, ties it up, sets it up, moves it from one place to another and eventually takes it with her on a smaller boat to who knows where. This quasi-relationship with the easel where it seems to be a source of pain and discomfort, of ambivalence and potential, is such that one is prone then to think of the history of art and easel painting, while the artist now deconstructs that narrative, yet can never transcend it. This is curiously echoed in the paintings by Mor Rimmer wherein she presents a series of paintings with the theme of the spinal column and ribs extending therefrom with an image of a palm tree that mirrors the pattern of the spine and ribs. The high seriousness of painting is then contested in her design pieces on bags and T-shirts based on those paintings, reminding us of the tenuous line separating art and design, high and so-called low culture.
The silk screen prints by the late Lea Nikel are certainly powerful and echo the chaos of the installation and the soul-searching of the video piece, whereby she is able to balance chaos and order to find a resolution as her compositions in color reveal patterns of great intensity. They may be described as kinds of analogue drawings that through the non-verbal language of the visual communicate emotional postures.
In all, the Trapeze – an act that defies gravity, that is brave and courageous – is reflected in the various artistic modalities on offer and suggest that indeed the acrobatics of the said artists, as it were, has produced a quality show. At the same time such a “circus act” questions the meaningfulness of life and whether in fact one can resolve the tensions of the past.At Gate 3 gallery,
HaifaA group show
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