Work in progress

Artist Sharon Pazner's first exhibit in Israel probes the relationship between process and completion.

Sharon Pazner art 88 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Sharon Pazner art 88 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
"In Process," Israeli artist Sharon Pazner's first exhibit here, is art that suggests the uncanny coexistence of the finished work together with the process of its creation. It is work that rewards double-take viewing. At first glance, Pazner's minimalistic work might seem naively transparent, precise and aesthetic. Attentive viewing reveals its sophistication. A key is broken; a tree grows and takes root; a word is breaking apart. Seemingly conflicting processes of assembling or breaking down are captured and suspended in an integrated whole. The working process and product are simultaneously present, inviting the viewer to follow the technical aspects of her work. I curated her recent (November 2008) exhibit in Budapest and was changed by my encounter with her work. I was drawn to the ambiguity characteristic of her art, and came to Israel this summer to curate her first exhibit here. The processes of Pazner's work are part of her art, inviting a similar "in-process" viewing of work that resists interpretive closure. The materials Pazner works with are simple: cut and folded paper, scanned objects, found objects on canvas. Two-dimensional paper realizes its three-dimensional potential as the finished work remains attached to the paper while exposing its cut-out origins. The fragility of the paper, further weakened by cutting while strengthened by shaping, uses this tension in work that reflects both its process and its completion. Similarly, the work with scanned photography uses the scanner's attributes as well as its limitations in defamiliarizing objects and depicting them anew. The scanned rusty nails, nuts, bolts and other found objects, the broken pine cones, pods and drying flowers photographed there also reflect the theme of wholeness and breakdown in ceaseless interaction so central to Pazner's work. Scanning allows the viewer to focus on the objects' intricate rusty textures, while at the same time distancing and muting parts of them. The scanned photography reverses the processes contemplated in her work in paper, translating three-dimensional objects into flat images. In the very different context of the punctured canvas work, those same rusty nails act differently. The rust stains cannot be controlled, and the creative process is thus joined by the objects themselves. As we worked together preparing this exhibit, Sharon asked me what the title of the first-floor center-work should be. "Base" is made of cut and folded black cardboard sheet with multiples of the letter "aleph" emerging or sinking within and hanging above. I told her I thought it should be called "Drops" because that word expresses movement and reminds us of gravity. Sharon's answer was, "I don't want to tell the people looking at my works what they should think about them. What happens if someone does not see them dropping but rather the opposite - they see them flying from the earth?" Following Pazner's exhibits in Milan and Rome in 2007, and the exhibit that I curated in Budapest a few months ago, the Sketchbook Gallery now offers Israeli viewers the opportunity to see Pazner's work "in process." "In Process" runs through July 31 at Sketchbook - Design Books & Gallery, Rehov Tchernichovsky 5, Tel Aviv. Gábor Somogyi is a curator and gallery owner in Budapest, Hungary.