New exhibition in Jaffa: Heroic portraits

The art of portraiture genre represents a desperate attempt to grasp the ungraspable, to preserve the ephemeral, to deny mortality.

maureen painting (photo credit: )
maureen painting
(photo credit: )
Maureen Fain is a Jerusalem painter who specializes in creating portraits in a language both typical and uniquely personal. Her technical skills are remarkable in these days when craftsmanship is rare. Portraits are a recurrent motif in Fain's work and constitute a guideline through the artistic investigation she has conducted throughout her painting career. She is constantly engaged in the effort to integrate traditional Renaissance perspectives on portraiture with a more contemporary personal language which finds new ways to suggest ambivalence of temperament and mood, an illusion of movement and of the dynamic passing of time. Portraiture has to orchestrate the play of light and shadow on facial features, harmonise figure and background, capture the drama which expresses the individual, and above all, devise an organic totality. This exhibition exemplifies these qualities. Some of Fain's paintings are brush drawings. This combined technique makes possible a concentrated attention to physiognomy, to lifelikeness, while at the same time disappearing outlines make for an almost mythical emergence from a mysterious beyond. Color in these paintings is arbitrary, non realistic, as is also the proportionality of the figures, and the expressionist distortions in depictions, for instance of hands, eyes and hair. Each painting radiates its own atmosphere. The paint layers, sometimes transparent, sometimes impasto, offer to the viewer's scrutiny an empathetic sense of the depth of feeling invested in the creation of the paintings. Most of the works are painted on a ground of Jerusalem stone which gives them something of the look of ancient frescoes. Suggested associations with graces, muses and the fates merge with Middle Eastern themes and symbols to produce a continuity of the here and now with past origins. It has been said about the art of portraiture that the genre represents a desperate attempt to grasp the ungraspable, to preserve the ephemeral, to deny mortality. But Fain's figures immortalize for a frozen moment archetypal faces which haunt our cultural memories of the past, and her present transformations of these icons are so dramatic and convincing that they continue to be meaningful long after they are first viewed. The exhibition is at ARTURA STUDIO, 9 Poriah St. (corner of Nitzanim), Jaffa; December 2-27 Opening hours: Mon 10 - 12, Tues & Wed : 10 - 12, 15 - 17, Thurs: 15 - 17. Also by appointment: Tel 03-5188-291/2