Born: 1958 Tel Aviv, Israel Description: "The Restoration of Aura"
A charismatic aspect of both the work and temperament of Yigal Ozeri is his undisguised delight in the power of paint and a robust affection for the painterly surface, proportion and atmosphere. If Damian Hirst dresses up the painter, complete with palette and easel and seals him off in an aquarium as a sign of his obsolescence, Ozeri proves that painting is very much alive. He probes the surfaces of painters he loves, particularly Velasquez and Zubaran, taking fragments of a painting as subjects of his own. He recreates pewter vessels, fruits, baskets, gowns emptied of their wearers, as though by restoring the art of the past to the eyes of the present he can mine the work layer by layer, asking himself questions about the making: Why the great bursts of transparencies in Velasquez? Why the faces in his official portraits seem to have received less attention than the gowns? Ozeri turned to the findings and methodology of restoration to answer these questions. The techniques of restoration reveal things to which the eye has had no entry -- science unfolding art.--and the artist‘s interest lies in the restorer‘s ability to parse the visual, to lay bare, to break down the ‘effect‘ into components of it‘s making. By going beyond the barrier of the optic, he, in fact goes to that place where Velasquez reenacted the self reflexive act of gazing upon the looker, when he painted himself painting "Las Meninas". Like Esher's drawings of two hands drawing each other, so Ozeri's art analyzes painting with the tools of painting. He also draws on the tradition of Trompe L'oeil paintings of the Dutch Masters. Cornelis Gijsbrechts (late 17th C.) was among the first artists conceiving the back of pictures as subject matter; not incidentally, he lived in an era of scientific revolution when great strides were made in the grinding of glass on consequent advances to divest art of it‘s sacred-read that Catholic- reference, and clothe the ordinary in stunning artifice of light and facture of matter. Ozeri grew interested in subject of Restoration as a means of penetrating optical consciousness, however, in the latest body of paintings, restoration itself becomes the subject. Images of techniques of restoration are taken directly from technical books and transformed by Yigal Ozeri‘s very particular form of alchemy into a new investigation of still life painting. The tools and arena of the restorer: the stretched backs of canvases, the tear awaiting repair and canvas disfigured by a broken frame, turn into subjects pending transformation, through rebirth in paint. The current series is significantly titled, "Tikkun", a Hebrew word that represents for the artist: healing or restoration. The link between healing and restoration forms an important entry into the works. Whereas both painter and viewer are conventionally concerned with the front of the work, the world of the restorer brings other planes into focus- the scrutiny of the broken, neglected and damaged. Pandora’s Box is rendering, after a documentary photograph of the back of a canvas, paneled with wood. A section of the paneling has been removed, to reveal the canvas, which is defaced by water damage. Ozeri recreates this image with exactitude of "Trompe L‘oeil (although he discounts this term)- wood, nails even a patch of what appears to be masking tape, are executed with startling clarity. On the "reverse" of the canvas, at the site of damage, Ozeri has appended painted images, on silk tissue paper, of hanging men after Pissanelo. In other works of this series, the artist has superimposed crystal drinking glasses, overt symbols of healing, while a white glazing that renders the glass, is suggestive of the salt residue that marks the passage of shed tears.
Patch I, the signature painting of the exhibition, shows a restorer‘s instrument: gauze, stretched over a damaged surface. The painterly "field" on which the gauze is placed --vertical bands of seeming abstract color, represents a bird‘s eye view of the restorer‘s table, the bands representing (from right to left of the painting) the painting waiting restoration, its canvas border, the bands, serving a dual purpose: it both makes taut the fabric to be restored and signals the tension of meaning in Ozeri's imagery. These tensions involve the power of illusion in painting and philosophical or theoretical distinctions between real and "artistic" space. Yigal Ozeri, in fact, revisits the auratic aspects of art. The visual concurrence between the Pissanelo quotation of hanging men and Ozeri's painting suspended in the frame, suggests a macabre juxtaposition. The hanged men have shuffled off this mortal coil and passed to a better world where, hopefully, grace lies ahead. He suspends the picture between two panes of glass, three inches larger than the canvas, attaching it to the casing with invisible fishing line, creating, in his words: "an auratic space around the image". By isolating the painting from the "contaminated" real world and relocating its habitation in the hermetic frame, sealed at the moment of completion, Ozeri restores art to the sacred. The very deliberate attention to the space around, between and behind the work of art, together with the voluptuousness of the subject matter and materials reiterates the return of aura to art in an age which has gone far away from the pictorial, yet another form of ‘restoration’. But by situating the image in a Trompe l'oeil vernacular, the artists returns (us) to the ‘profane‘ world, the world of objects, and the familiar. The Hebrew word "Tikkun” is often used in mystic musings, particularly in Kabalistic discussion on the problem of evil: if God is all-good, how did evil come to exist? The Kabala answers that creation in not complete, not over, for God made man a partner in creation. It can be completed and the world restored, Tikkun Olam, by acts of righteousness and goodness. Yigal Ozeri makes in this series of painting called Tikkun, a similar claim for painting. In this complex group of paintings the artist suggests that what you see is not what you get: painting has depths that cannot be comprehended by the eye alone. Ozeri paints the neglected and the broken, restoring beauty, making visible which was absent, teasing our perception, and then signaling completion in the act of framing. But finally, he insists with characteristic delight, "it is all illusion and that is the power of painting."
Manon Slome New York, New York 1983-84 Miemad Art School (Co-Founder) SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2001 "Tikkun, The Restoration Series" , Stefan Stux Gallery, Chelsea, NY 2000 "The Mark of The Bite" Bineth Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel "Leftovers", Hafemann Gallery, Wiesbaden 1999 "Deep Storage", Gallerie Heike Curtze, Vienna Austria "Overpass- Painting Beyond History", New Gallery, Houston, Texas 1998 "The Gray Series", Bineth Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel "Last Dance with Velazquez" New Gallery, Houston, Texas "The Empty Dress”, Caesarea Gallery, Boca Raton, Florida
1997 "Unbuilt America; Tears of Building", Z Gallery, SoHo, New York "Unbuilt America. Fragile Architecture". Drawings & Prints, ATP, Vienna "Yigal Ozeri-New Works 1994-1997", Curator: Prof. Mordechai Omer, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel "Atlas- Yigal Ozeri" Hafferman Gallery, Weisbaden, Germany 1996 "Yigal Ozeri", ARCO Art Fair, Madrid Spain, Bineth Gallery "Unbuilt America, Fragile Architecture" Galerie Heike Curtze, Vienna, Austria "Dress Structures", Caesarea Gallery, Boca Raton, Florida 1995 "The Mad House of Goya", Z Gallery, SoHo, New York "Yigal Ozeri- New Works", Hafemann Gallery, Weisbaden " A lot of White and a bit of Yellow", Bineth Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel " Vessel & Shrines", Yigal Ozeri & Fredrick Kiesler, Curators Prof. Mordechai Omer & Meira Perry-Lehman, Museum of Israel, Jerusalem, "After Velazquez", Caesarea Gallery, Boca Raton, Florida 1994 "Born-Unborn", Yigal Ozeri & Wenda Gu, Berlin-Shafir Gallery, SoHo, New York "The Empty Chair", Curator Prof. Mordechai Omer, Museum Of Modern Art, Haifa "The Presence of The Absent: The empty Chair" , Bianca Lanza Gallery, Miami, Florida " My Library", Sala Gaspar Gallery, Barcelona 1992 " My Library", Hafemann Gallery, Weisbaden, Germany " The Chemical Villa & The Hanging Garden", Yigal Ozeri & William Katavolos, The Museum of Israeli Art, Ramat Gan " The Chemical Villa & The Hanging Garden", Yigal Ozeri & William Katavolos, S. Bitter Gallery, SoHo, New York "Unbuilt", Bineth Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel "Yigal Ozeri; Michael Rovner", Betsy Rosenfield Gallery, Chicago, Ill. 1991 "Decoy". Yigal Ozeri & Michal Rovner, Bitter-Larkin Gallery, SoHo, New York 1990 "Matter Becomes Light-Light Becomes Matter", Yigal Ozeri & Irene Peshcick, Da-Da Yanko Museum and; Ein Harod Museum, Israel 1989 "Interpretation on Fresco Paintings 1989", Hafemann Gallery, Weisbaden "Yigal Ozeri", Bineth Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2002 Art Atlanta, Skot Foreman Fine Art,ltd., Atlanta, GA 2002 ArtMiami, Skot Foreman Fine Art,ltd., Miami, FL 2001 Art Toronto, Skot Foreman Fine Art, ltd., Toronto, Canada 2001 Texas International Art Fair, Skot Foreman Fine Art, ltd., Dallas, Texas 2000 "Workshop with Jim Dine at Kabri's print shop", Tel Aviv Museum of Art & the Museum of Israel "A wall of My Own" Curators: Benno Kalev & Varda Steinlauf, Tel Aviv Museum of Art "The Figure: Another Side of Modernism", Snug Harbour Cultural Center, Staten Island. New York 1999 "The End: An Independent Vision Of Contemporary Culter,1982-200" Curators J. Ingberman & P. Colo, Exit Art Gallery, SoHo, New York "90th anniversary of Tel aviv-Yafo Contemporary Cityscapes-Israel & American Artisits" Curator: Prof. Modechai Omer, Tel Aviv museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel "Place Mark Person Mark", Curator: Meira Lehmann-Perry, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem "90 Years of Israel art a Selection from the Joseph Hackney-Israel Phoenix Collection" Curator: Prof. Mordechai Omer, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel
"Monumental Drawings", Curators: Jeanette Ingberman & Papo Colo, Exit Art Gallery, SoHo New York 1998 "Modular Composite", Central Fine Arts Gallery, SoHo, New York "Contemporary Israeli Art: Three Generations", organized be the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, at the University of London, Britain, and at The National Gallery and Alezandros soutzos Museum, Athens Greece and The National Gallery, Weisbaden, Germany "Open Saluo" White Box Gallery Inaugural Exhibition", Whit Box Gallery, Chelsea, New York 1997 " La Tradicion-Performing Painting", Curators: Jeanette Ingberman & Papo Colo, Exit Art Gallery, SoHo, New York "Codified Desires", Rick Ritchey, Lisa Kokin & Yigal Ozeri, curator Anna Novakov, Catherine Clarke Gallery, San Francisco 1996 "Painting All-Over, again, Curator: Saul Ostrow, Promueve y patrocina, Saragosa, Spain 1995 "Construction In Process V- Dukium(Co-Existence)", The Artists‘ Museum, Mitzpe Ramon, Israel 1994 "Free Falling", Berlin-Shfir Gallery SoHo, New York "Autumn Exhibition", Bineth Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel 1993 "Locua", Fisher Gallery, Los Angeles "Contrition In Process IV- My Home is Your Home", The Artist‘s Museum, Lodge "Ten BY Ten By Ten", TZ ART Gallery, SoHo, New York 1992 "Book, Box, Word” COCA Museum, Miami, Florida "Yigal Ozeri", ARCO Art Fair, Bineth Gallery, Madrid, Spain "The Presence of the Absent- The Empty Chair", Curator: Prof. Mordechai Omer, The Genia Schriber University Art Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel 1990 "Ornamentika", Curator: Gottfried Hafeman, Hafeman Gallery, Weisbaden, Germany "The Israel Selection to the Aparto", Co-curators: Surin Heller & Meir Aharson. Museum of Israel Art, Ratmat Gan "Sieben Israelische Kunstlers", Frederica Taylor Gallery, Berlin, Germany "Architecture on Paper", Curator: Meira Lehman-Perry, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel "Line Against Line" Ausslellungshalle Karmekiterkloster, Frankfurt am Main, Germany 1988 "ArtIsrael 1988",Curators: Marge Goldwater & Paterson Sims, traveling exhibition, USA "Fresh Paint: The Younger Generation in Israel Art", Curator: Helen Ginton & Yigal Zalmona, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv & the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel