Sep 02 – Oct 14, 2011
“… A painting changes all the time, even though it remains a painting. The center and gaze transform, meaning that even though the question remains the same (what is painting ?) I approach it in different ways or think of it differently.”
The Ofir Dor exhibition, Mister O and Misses I, invites the viewer to closely examine the meaning and boundaries of painting through the continual search process executed by the artist. The exhibited works were painted during the last three years, and Ofir describes them as three “layers” in his work process; an accurate metaphor that illustrates both the character of the paintings that are saturated with many layers of paint, and the recurrent progression between the different paintings, different periods of the artists life, and between their historical context.
The first layer of work was painted by Dor in Berlin after his last solo exhibition at Sommer Gallery in 2008. The second layer was painted during his one-year stay in Mexico in 2010 and this body of work contains predominantly portraits. The third layer was painted by Dor during this past year in which his process became more abstract as he moved away from concentrating on the subject of contemplation into a more reflective look at the concept of contemplation itself. The different subjects that are used as departure points for Dor’s work lose their value as objects or characters and become tools with which Ofir investigates line, color, and overall appearance.
“Drawing,” Dor writes, “ is an essential part of painting, because it is immediate, fast, and unmediated. For these very reasons, drawing creates an ultimate moment. Color is a different story, more like a world with layers, air, and weather, I try to bring back the drawing into painting even after many layers of searching and wandering.” The complex relationship between the immediacy of drawing that provides the story of the painting and the added color that is being built upon gradually and gives the painting their weight, is especially evident in light of the fact that Ofir does not use drawing only as a preparatory outline for a painting that will eventually cover the canvas. In his works, a continual dialogue between color and shape exists, a sort of dialectical process, which is itself the purpose of art-making. Like in a musical piece, that conducts itself through ongoing time, so do Dor’s works. They solicit the viewer to penetrate through the layers of the continual process of the work. Drawing in Ofir’s work repeats and appears as a response to the color work, it uses it is a counterweight and in some of the paintings it appears at the end of the work as a seal or closure.