Co-curated by Loretta Harms & Caio Twombly, June 1-20, 2017
Ophrah Shemesh’s pictures turn to a tortured romanticism, bringing representation as psychologically close as possible to an affirmation of the human body’s supremacy. The bodies claimed, proclaimed in Shemesh’s canvases are neither mediated by photography, lifted from the media, nor appropriated from the history of art; nor are they mere phantasms projected by the imaginary, archetypal bodies, as it were, that dissolve in a long stream of successive formal types.....they are portrait-bodies....not to recount, however, fragments of experience – tranches de vie chronicling daily events – but to literally embody an idea of existence.
Mario Diacono, Archetypes and Historicity, 2012
Ophrah Shemesh’s paintings are gorgeous and troubling: brilliant visual meditations on the profundity of appearances and the violence they may engender. Here we find, at least on the surface, a critique of the gaze, but one that, like all great painting, is also complicit in its seductions. The eye lingers first on what seem to be flat, graphic forms and fields of color. But then, through the traces of the painter’s brush, one is taken by the hand and drawn inward, past the startled faces, to a more hidden place where seeing and touching are one.
Louis Sass, author of Madness and Modernism
Image: Chill Pursued, 2017, oil on linen, 80 x 128 inches
Photo by Adam Reich. All images are subject to copyright. Approval must be granted prior to reproduction.