Rutger Brandt Gallery, Amsterdam
Yigal Ozeri lives and works in New York, where his female-oriented oeuvre has created quite a sensation. Ozeri’s unique, refined technique brings his models to life in all their beauty and vulnerability. His work, depicting his ‘anima’, the female archetype, conveys a positive message of hope, freedom and love of life: woman as the source of life, fertility and Eros. His continued interest lies in capturing the spirit of his subjects, be they ageless sirens, pre-Raphaelite women of folklore, or youthful figures in contemporary garb. Through his heartfelt quest to capture his muses’ energy, he creates work that transcends materiality, combining meticulously-rendered details with spontaneous and loose brushstrokes. Wispy flyaway hairs, minute droplets of water, glimmering reflections of light, and crisp folds of wrinkled clothing stand out against hazy backgrounds and blurred terrain.
Ozeri’s paintings in his most recent series “A New York Story” represent a significant evolution in the artist’s practice—one of the most dramatic shifts in his approach to painting thus far. He has moved beyond his comfort zone of photographing and painting models in prodigious natural landscapes to painting documentary photography in the chaotic pulse of New York’s urban terrain.
A New Yorker himself, Ozeri has developed an eye for the unconventional moments of beauty that city dwellers have long embraced. His newest series features the unyielding aspects of New York—the meat markets of Chinatown, the unmaintained subway, the vacant lots of Redhook—as well as the more traditional beloved locales. It is in these offbeat settings that Ozeri’s work begins to capture a more 21st century sensibility. The imagery and compositions flirt with the perimeters and conventions of contemporary street photography. Ozeri has chosen to focus on chance encounters where strangers have integrated their way into his compositions rather than censor them.
The imagery from “A New York Story” is invigorated with drama. Darkness, and natural light compete for attention, amongst the complex layered subject matter. The rhythm of the city translates into streaming movement exemplifying the true essence of New York.
Shape and colour are the starting points for Johan De Wit’s varied oeuvre that largely consists of sculptures, videos and picturesque objects. His works evoke all kinds of associations, such as childhood memories, but also those of vanity and melancholy. In evoking an atmosphere of poetic stillness, the artist combines his love for aesthetic objects with everyday life: ranging from a pot, a table or a ladder to abstract objects – sometimes even with religious or archaeological connotations — as in those conjured up by a disc or a triptych. De Wit is inspired by the paintings of the Flemish Primitives and the Flemish and Dutch masters of the Golden Age, but there are also clear echoes of the work of Giorgio Morandi, for example. De Wit recognizes a kind of the restless openness in both the still lifes and the landscapes of the old masters, but also the refined craftsmanship he seeks in his own work. This is reflected in his search for materiality, textures and colour. Much like life itself, everything seems to be moving in De Wit’s work.
A paper mode forms the basis for his most recent series of objects, which are reinforced both on the inside and the outside by resin and marble powder. De Wit reworks the model during the drying process to create folds and dents. He subsequently finishes each piece with different colours and shades of paint, and then gives the surface of the work a final sanding. This results in a concealing and a retrieval of the dents and folds of the three-dimensional form. The light that is then captured and reflected underscores all the rich layers of the surface.