New Group Exhibition
Curator Monica Lavi
With paintings that are brazen, juvenile, sensual and crude, the women artists represented in the exhibition – Rakefet Viner Omer,
Efrat Rubinstein, Michal Bachi, Michal Orgil, Inbar Horkany, and Nouli Omer – show works that draw on the period of childhood, youth and coming of age. In showing their works at the Nahum Gutman Museum of Art, however, it is interesting to note that a mechanism of social interpellation – as availed itself, precisely, of Nahum Gutman’s talent to act on Israeli parents and children – barely had any impact on them. In how they look at childhood, not much is left of the ethos of docile, adorable children as was delivered by Gutman to his young readers. The works do reveal, however, the signs of an attitude in Israeli society which places great importance on childhood in general.
The artists in the exhibition put authority, order and hegemony to ridicule. They are rude and cheeky; mocking etiquette and respectability, they casually skip over the dictum to “behave themselves” and instead follow in the footsteps of Max and Moritz, Huckelberry Finn and Pippi Langstrumpfen. They sing in the rain, jump into puddles, dance around poles in racy attire, and generally don’t give a damn. In his influential Ways of Seeing, John Berger famously wrote that “men act and women appear.” While many of Berger’s insights are still valid, it is good to witness, nowadays, a feminine art that exists outside the entanglement of masculine-feminine gazes, in a space of liberated bodies and self-deprecating humor.
In studios all over the city of Tel Aviv-Yaffo – in a living room, an industrial building, over or below the ground – good vibes abound. In rooms that are wonderfully tidy or messy, in the auditoriums and on stages, women are at it – painting, practicing karate, doing yoga, loving their children, dancing around poles. The women participating in the exhibition offer ways of befriending wounds of many kinds, the signs of age, the losses and aches of the soul. Casting a direct gaze at themselves and those around them, they create art that is attuned to others, essentially, to relationships, interactions and human beings. They are straightforward, unfussy with their bodies, filled with humor and compassion with regards to themselves and the girls they once were. It is a celebratory show – despite, occasionally, the bleak recesses of darkness.