Ein Hod’s treasure trove of art

The primary, solo show of esteemed artist Yoav Shualy demonstrated a great love for the land, the very earth and organic life of Israel.

Yossi Vaxman's work (photo credit: Courtesy)
Yossi Vaxman's work
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Established in 1953 as an artists’ colony, Ein Hod, southeast of Haifa, boasts a splendid view of the Mediterranean amid a mountaintop that precedes, or rather readies one for, the creative feast that is sure to titillate the would-be arts lover.
The primary, solo show of esteemed artist Yoav Shualy demonstrated a great love for the land, the very earth and organic life of Israel. His focus is the play of light and shadow as it merges, sharpens and shimmers to form trees, die veldt and the lingering rays that come from above.
His oil paintings conjure a sense of seasonal ambiance and a hyperreal sense of the lay of the land. His meticulous detail is such that chaos is transformed into order, which in turn reveals a new kind of chaos and so on in an endless oscillation that promises unity, diversity and a sense of individual suchness of the landscapes of his affection.
His drawing ability and acute understanding of perspective captures the depth inherent in the scenery as in some paintings the light shimmers, reflected via water and sky, so that in quite metaphysical terms one might attribute a certain spiritual calm to his work.
Though clearly not shocking or what one might term postmodern with a concern for the abject and the alternative, Shualy, in a career spanning decades, is able to manifest a sense of the numinous, which in my estimation is a necessary “argument” against conventional skepticism and cynicism.
Another series of works that caught my eye are the portraits by Yossi Vaxman.
Highly expressive, one feels the frenzy of the artist as impasto paint is applied, somewhat glued together by what seemed like a thick, shining varnish.
The method gives the effect that the subjects truly stare at the onlooker, pulsating and charged with energy.
There is a certain confidence in the mark-making, at once defining the form of his subjects and emotively describing a certain idiosyncratic character revealed through the paintwork.
One might further articulate this as the capacity the artist has for at once – and quit paradoxically – creating a sense of solid stasis and a sense of movement and exuberance.
Other highlights included a work by Dror Goldberg, wherein the artist plays with the Israeli flag with a certain wax and resin sheen, an off bluewhite coloration and the Star of David in it’s negative space, as it were – that is, as a hexagon (join the points and the star emerges).
Perhaps the artist draws attention through the odd colors and materials to the complexity of the land, as a kind of footnote to Shualy’s arcadia.
Here one might be embroiled in the more abstract, the less defined and the somewhat political and social realities that are perhaps not utopian, both in theory and practice.
Yet I found some measure of peace (after all, such is the intent of the nation’s flag) in the photographic/ graphic work of Avivit Segal, as treelike forms conspire to give the viewer a sense of the big bang explosion, of cellular interface and neuronal connections.
All this emanating from a blinding white center and the inexplicable wherein even the laws of physics, time and space no longer apply.
At that point, other images jostled for attention amid cute, well-made craft and jewelry and sculptures, so that the would-be traveler may be immensely impressed by some of those on the walkabout in the terrain.
This is a trip I would recommend requiring some more frequent visits as the artists rotate – not to mention the famed Janco-Dada Museum of Ein Hod.