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Tamar Dubrovsky: Obsession

Curator: Daniella Talmor

Obsession is deeply interwoven all through Tamar Dubrovsky’s prolific creative work, and may also be detected in the works composing the installation at the present exhibition. A temperate intuitiveness ruling over the paintings expands over a vast range of subconscious feelings and experiences. In spite of their great expressiveness, they are endowed with a deep intimacy, represented in a wide spectrum of shapes.

The exhibition “Obsession” is made up of an installation documenting the artist’s work of the latest years, trying to make the viewer participate in her creative activity: a continuity of obsessive work defined by the artist as “a sort of slavery”. Dubrovsky describes the creative process as an inescapable need , that obliges the artist to produce work after work, accumulating in a long continuous chain of artistic creation. And thus indeed, the works in the show can be seen as a long succession of paintings hanging side by side, as a testimony of the continuous, never-ending process, a holy duty from which there is no evasion and becomes the sole purpose in life. The show’s continuity moves around a single time axis, and the change in it derives from the change in the creative media: sometimes the material changes, sometimes the physical format.

The independent works making up this crowded, total exhibition get together to form an entire installation that is larger than the sum of its parts. With free movements, the artist sets her impressions on the surface and in depth, and - together with the daring and confident colourfulness that characterizes her abstract works, with their texture of thickly-applied oil on canvas – there appear rich variations in the form of hundreds of tiny, mono-chromatic pictures done on paper, little masterpieces, the result of a skill acquired through long years of fertile and tenacious labour.
                                               
 The numerous series covering the gallery walls in this exhibition have been painted with persistent obsession. Series of paintings on paper are hung successively, all along the length and width of the walls, from the floor up to the ceiling. The works are placed side by side without any separation between them, and their proliferation induces a sense of obsession, repetitiveness, but also of absolute perfection.

The series in black and white present minimalistic works done in Chinese ink on photographic paper. The black stains are organized on the paper in a delicate and precise balance, as if they were preparatory drawings for sculptures of tall vertical totems. It is possible to detect in those pictures sketches of bones, skeleton transparencies or symbolic spinal cords existing in perfect equilibrium with their environment. An adjacent series was done in the same Chinese ink, but with a wet brush on shiny photographic paper that refused the ink and rejected the painting process. The interaction between the materials created diluted colour stains in exciting textures, reminiscent of tender brain, intestinal or lung tissue. Side by side to this series hang abstract, amorphous paintings, outlining ink stains that succeeded in staying on the paper, and create a kind of landscapes reproducing the traces left by the waves on the sand along the water edge. In another, colourful series, done in acrylic paint on paper, Dubrovsky sketches tiny images lined as if woven in a weft and warp pattern, appearing sometimes as open shapes, sometimes as almost tri-dimensional bodies. Still another colourful series can be defined as a figurative island in the abstract sea of the installation and of the entire exhibition, presenting colourful pencil drawings of whole and partial portraits. These are drawings made with great precision, almost realistic, representing “any and every man”, of any age and located anywhere. The characters look forward, straight into the viewers’ eyes, as if seeking their participation and inviting them to take a stand.       

In the tri-dimensional construction of the exhibition, Dubrovsky combines an area inhabited by hundreds of elongated bodies, which remind us of past fascinating installations she did in the past. The bodies are made of thin silk paper that served to wrap chocolate and is attached by means of industrial adhesive. In spite of the paper’s fragility, the bodies were joined to create a large, impressive body that fills up the space. The bodies, which were built in the studio, may also look as brushstrokes that escaped from the paintings and became real bodies, as if the thick paint disengaged itself from the canvas and covered the voluminous constructions. The elongated bodies resembling bones that make up the installation also evoke dried branches, which, nevertheless, try to hold on to life, to keep up the hope that within the dry bones and the withered branches still remains a spark of the D.N.A. that will bring up future renewal.

The walls in the central space of the gallery are covered with a mass of large, square, colourful works, hanging in two rows, one above the other. Those are brightly-coloured paintings, covered with thickly-applied, wide, free brushstrokes of oil paint on canvas, that best reflect the artist’s abstract expressionistic bend. Although each one of the paintings was done individually, together they gather in a sort of polyptich, a kind of collection that accumulates its entire quality from the very fact of its crowded display and from the relationship of each and every painting to its neighbours. The abstract language of the paintings thus acquires a new, all-embracing meaning. The balance established between the brushstrokes creates a dialogue that enriches the works with a new expression. The fascinating interaction between the works themselves, between the vulnerable, exposed, tender interior, and the rough and protective exterior, reflects the strife between human beings and their environment, the constant search for answers concerning our relations with ourselves, with other people and with the world around us.    

Dubrovsky’s works lead to introspection. With the help of colour, inspiration, atmosphere, they help her ideas to materialize. When all those come to life, they open up to absorb fragments of reality, fantasies and associations originating in the imagination or the memory. Thus rises and bursts forth from the depths of her consciousness a beautiful plethora of shapes in a great variety of colours. The new reality expressed in the exhibition sets the shapes and colours free and inscribes them in Dubrovsky’s artistic writing, which has remained all along the years her unique, direct and most powerful medium of expression.

Daniella Talmor, September 2010

 
 
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