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Black Mamba

Julie M. Gallery, Tel Aviv

March 31 - May 7, 2011

The exhibition “Black Mamba,” whose title is both the name of a poisonous snake and an extreme amusement park ride, is an encounter between two artists. Both present works on paper with different materials. For both, “blackness” is an inner, mental state, not necessarily a color. They both touch on places of the soul, which is a dark one, resulting in a reciprocal, dynamic connection between them. Tali Ben Bassat’s paintings seem freely painted yet are clearly part of the tradition of twentieth-century modern painting. The series of figures presented in the exhibition recall those of Edvard Munch, touching on the deepest recesses of the psyche; Egon Schiele’s exposed expressiveness; and Mondrian’s search for regularity in the structure of the world. They are related to the roots of painting and its traditional materials, particularly watercolor. The figures’ gestures seem to indicate a search for their own spine or equilibrium in the face of a sense of destabilization and inner collapse.

Ruthi Helbitz Cohen presents a series of small paintings as well as large works composed of fragments. In these fragments an exposed experience is transmuted into the material of paper and the language of collage. She takes the painting apart and reconstructs it in a way which is both more fragmented and more direct. For her, nature is a kind of reflection, unfounded, disrupted, struggling with culture and the force of gravity. All the figures and their limbs are disintegrating, falling or pulled downward, hanging by a thread. Both artists exhibit and experience of void and “disintegration” which includes collapse. It is an experience which pulls the viewer into a world of fears and the unconscious, which is an uncontrollable place.

 

Text by Carmit Blumensohn