PAINTINGS OF TIME
Zohar Cohen’s (Israel, 1969) work stands as a visual metaphor for the duality that characterizes the perception of reality - sometimes through penned and meditative observation which allows internalizing and clear focusing on details, listening to the timeless silence that bonds with the stability of still-life; other times, that very objective reality manifests itself as a force of dynamic energy, deceptive, constantly changing and partially or completely elusive. Zohar addresses this complexity by choosing views of landscapes or interior spaces of the home or the studio that preserve both the intimate and distant look. Using methodical and rhythmic deconstruction, we are presented with a new definition of objective reality where the dimensions of space and time overlap.
Room and Image from 2004 portrays a furnished living room in the center with an armchair and sofa on which a young girl lies. There is a low table and stove in the foreground, and a bookcase next to an open window in the background. This interior scene, which projects a sense of quiet and private comfort exuded by inactivity, is reflected in a set of strips formed by uniform, slender and long closely packed brush strokes. The strips cover the entire surface of the canvas in a controlled pattern, generating a visual texture in which volume and space join in one pictorial entirety that creates a continuing illusion of dizzying, boundary-breaking movement. Quick, immediate and unfocused perception is required in order to catch the dynamism in the stillness, the transience in the extant, and the image of the sensorial present changing with the nostalgic image disturbed by tricks of the memory.
The pictorial parallel of the concept of creativity in an integrated domain of space and time becomes ever more ambitious as the pictures break free of the dimensions of the easel paintings and approach a monumental format, such as The Great Sea from 2005 (180 cm. x 50 cm.). Here the expansive landscape is expressed through those “strips” which blend with ever-shorter brush strokes that break down into tiny touches of pigments strewn across the surface, creating a mosaic-like texture. The picture projects the rhythm produced by the gentle and patient dedication blending into a controlled and calculated creative approach which, like Zohar Cohen’s other works, does not detract from its sensitivity, sensuality or poetic quality.
By raising the issue of the polarization of fragmentation versus entirety, the stable versus the transient, microcosm versus macrocosm, the works redefine not only the reciprocal relationship between space and time, but also the mutual bond that exists, sometimes in harmony and sometimes with tension, between the act of painting and of observation.