Mosh Kashi / A cappella
Opening: 18/02/2016 Closing: 08/04/2016
Artist Talk: 01.04.16 at 12:00
Artist Talk: 01.04.16 at 12:00
The surfaces of Mosh Kashi’s paintings seem as though they are made of silver foil stretched over the frame, and only the traces of the brushstrokes divulge the trail of the brush on the canvas. On these surfaces, drawings appear as if from nowhere, while the traces of the brush movement as it forms the image attest to the essence of the body language contained in the drawing hand. Until now, this language has been encapsulated in Kashi’s painting between the layers of paint and the polished surface. Kashi harnesses the quality of drawing in order to give shape to the birth of the first line, and at the same time, to its demise.
These drawings mark a turning point in Kashi’s painting, which up until now has been hermetic and meticulous. They present unraveled drawing, exposed by its skeletal appearance, which is sometimes present as a poignant image and at times dissolves into the emptiness that envelops it. The canvases painted with silver or gold generate an intentional alienation to the possibility that this is the habitat of a plant of some sort, while simultaneously giving the feeling that the drawing is pushed to the front of the painting, as though the background and the image are separate entities. Like they were portraits distinguished from the sphere that surrounds them.
The series of drawings Ash Flora echoes the exploration of botanical encyclopedias illustrators throughout the years, rooted in drawing and etching. However, in some of the works, the shift that Kashi introduces by merging the two disciplines (drawing and etching) points to a different direction: the world of photography, where photographed images materialize only in a hermetic, closed world, like a darkroom. The luminescent metallic surface that serves as the drawing’s background is evocative of the photo paper, the gelatin silver print, in the literal sense, but also in the sense that reveals the gap between it and the world of painting, which takes shape and forms from gaze to gaze. The drawings have volume and tones, yet their shadow is contained within, and does not exist outside the bounds of the image. These drawings often look like a flattened shadow of the image that was ostensibly left outside the canvas – a feeling enhanced by the mirror-like silver paint in the painting’s background, with subtle reflections of the surrounding space it encloses.
The body of works Ash Flora was created concurrently with the series of panoramic paintings A Cappella – the studio serving as a shared living environment of two distinct disciplines that have been assimilated in one another: drawing and painting. The supposedly different modes of operation bring forth questions that explore representations and possibilities for giving form to the action, to the gesture of painting, as images that carry meaning, so that the painting functions as a drawing and the drawing as a painting.
The large dimensions of the paintings in relation to the drawings further stress the private scale of both worlds: the drawing, smaller and exploratory, while the painting is like a materialization of a panoramic space with mass and color from end to end; expansive landscapes converted into a heavenly universe with no beginning or end – a universe in which the glimpses of light measure a false infinity.
These paintings and drawings are another chapter in Kashi’s exploration of questions of painting in recent years, at the center of which lies an examination of the distinction but also the affinity between the sublime and the trivial through a profound painterly research that could be compared to the discovery of the tension between vocal sound and absolute silence.
Mosh Kashi was born in Jerusalem in 1966. He graduated from HaMidrasha Art School (1987) and holds a master’s degree in Art from Bretton Hall University, Leeds, UK (2000). Kashi is a senior lecturer in Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design and head of the sculpting track in the Department of Ceramics and Glass Design. He exhibited 10 solo shows and participated in dozens of group shows in Israeli and international museums and galleries. His works are included in prominent private and public collections, including the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Haifa Museum, Tefen Museum, Recanati and more. A comprehensive retrospective show of Kashi’s works was held for six months in 2012 at Stef Wertheimer’s Tefen Museum. The exhibition featured almost 100 works and was accompanied by an extensive artist’s book. At 2014 Mosh Kashi exhibited a solo exhibition ASH DREAMER at Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art, and at 2016 exhibited a solo exhibition A cappella also in Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art
Major prizes: Young Artist Award (1994); Artistic Encouragement Award (1997); The Minister of Education and Culture Award (2004).
Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art is pleased to present a new solo show by Mosh Kashi, ASH DREAMER, consisting of a distinguished and diverse series of works created over the past four years in oil on canvas.
The exhibition title ASH DREAMER, reveals a great deal of Kashi’s painting stance in recent years which presumes that the innocent gaze on a place or a view and its primal and savage nature, will always be charged with the viewer’s subconscious, conscious, and personal feelings.
In his new exhibition, Kashi intensifies and enhances his profound artistic practice, examining the immensity of nature in its different aspects, both visual and mental: wild fields spread out from one horizon to the next, lonely trees rooted in a wide open and barren space, great dark mountains and thickets painted with great precision. All illustrated in a light neither of day, nor of night.
Mosh Kashi, born in Jerusalem in 1966. Bachelor’s degree from Ha’Midrasha School of Art (1987), MFA graduate at Burton Hall University Leeds, UK (2000).
Kashi has participated in solo and group exhibitions both in Israel and abroad. Two artist books were published on his work, in 2006 and 2012.
Mosh Kashi exhibits meticulous oil on canvas paintings, loaded with suspense and inward concentration. Kashi’s metaphoric world goes the distance into an undefined space of botanical imagery, gloomy fields and nocturnal spaces. Kashi builds a world of stylized nature from thickets of splitting branches to barren field landscapes. A series of small fields that portray an ivory light in the core of the sky, a brief aperture- a light opening and capturing a glimpse of the great body of nature.
With a virtuoso brush technique Kashi has developed the thicket image- an endless entanglement and splitting of branches, leafless and grey. The thicket is dense, prickly and illuminated from within the darkness. The nature in his drawings is not natural and flowing, but rather frozen and tangled. Side by side, lunar landscapes in which the light flows, or darkness accumulates, giving it a meditative suspense.
Human presence is reduced from Kashi’s paintings in a symbolic way, to the gaze of the outside viewer, busy deciphering the tensed events of the painting. The contact of darkness and light induces in his works an undefined time-sense which is neither day nor night, dusk or dawn. The vague light which falls on the dark fields, the measured lighting that exposes a field part delicate as fine hair in a sudden flash of first or last light, the twigs flickering from the dark green thicket, carrying an allegory of the paintings light source as the skies hanging on an endless dawn.
The paintings in this exhibition indeed offer a deeply rooted affinitiy to romantic painting but also wishe to examine the objects of painting, in the saturated light, the fertile material, the object of desire concealed in the ordered appearance of things
My new cycle of works opens yet another chapter that deals with nature and flora not as a record but as a document that engages emotions on physical as well as mental levels.
Dark fields, black trees, thickets spread as a torn sheet exposing the hidden light and the background, hallucinatory trees and shadows, golden porcelain balls (that will not be exhibited) coated with pure gold, and balls with meticulously painted twigs.
Darkness as a substance provides the axis in this body of works. The horizon, the link between land and sky and the pale light that flickers like a pearl define the wide shadowy fields and the dark saturated sky above them.
A significant part of those works are the black fields (Cronos); heavy and charged, they linger as a black thick mist marking the horizon in the gallery space. The viewer moves from a black field to a green shadow, back to a dark tree and then to an endless thicket of green twigs through which glints an infinite space.
There are other works with bare sprigs on a dark background illuminated by the faint night light; they break up the dark space reaching to the bottom of darkness which is light (Sintra).
The dark, hallucinatory trees on a red background (Crimson) are far away in a red, hot atmosphere – the red, thick air wraps the lone tree that merges with the horizon of the heavy earth. The dark trees seem like stakes in the first light of dawn or the last light of day, or pines, dark with their thick and mysterious branches.
These works do not express the concrete, earthly plane of nature, but rather refer to mental imagery like the dark, weightless air that touches the heavy earth on a blurry horizon.
The blurred leaves and the almost hallucinatory branches become an allegory to the feelings of void and reality; together they reveal a fractal space free of cultural prescriptions. This reality is a fractal, a unique shape born again and again, eternally.
An initial mapping of Mosh Kashi’s new works reveal a preoccupation with two principal groups of paintings. The first, lacking any painterly point of gravity creates a sort of symmetrical construction – a division of space in the direction of abstract dealing with the sublime. (The Fields, and The Sky of Darkness and Light) The second group refines the subject of painting to an essence that creates a clear and absolute point of gravity, sometimes autonomous without space or specific place. (The Horns, The Thicket, and the Embalmed Series).
The works from the Fields series detour the concrete place and time. More than they reveal the landscape, they create “Gestures of Landscapes” or essences of landscapes that rely on landscape and reality. The barren fields with the coloring of camouflaged animal furs expose the illusion created by the multiplication of the dense plants, stretching out with no landmarks, like a soft fur spread from here to there. The fields appear like a meta-spatial and meta-temporal fractal.
On the line of the horizon – skies thick and saturated as if stopped by a thread of hair that barely holds back the meeting of sky and earth. This charging of a meeting between living plants that confront the lifeless empty sky that is as heavy as lead reveals the fundamental duality at the base of this painting that contains sensual strata that vary between one life environment to another.
In the series The Sky of Darkness and Light the mass of darkness, thick and opaque heavily lies across most of the painting and only a vague line creates a hallucinary border between darkness and light. A sort of image of the creation of the division of sky and land, water and sky. This series creates an affinity to photography. At the different stages of the development of photography, at the moment when the image appears through the liquid, the critical moment is revealed that inscribes the meeting of light and darkness. This moment is the heart of the painting, creating a specific-mental weight that cannot be measured. This is created through knowledge, intuition, from the image of division between two air materials. The one, light and soft, and the other thick and dense.
The series of trees in The Embalmed on green boards echo the flattened appearance of plants that have been pressed between pages of books in an attempt to save them. The plant’s physiognomy necessary for passing on the truth is completely destroyed even though the morphological characters still remain. These trees bestow the sense that they have been embalmed in the silence, in a green darkness. Floating in dark forest-green as if it was their preserving fluid or at least a memory of their color. These trees are naked of any green leaves or sign of life, they create a sort of gentle colorful etching of a dry skeleton, a sort of dumb ornamentation.
And opposite them, the Thicket works, which invade the sides of the painting from every place and to every place. They create their own dynamic abstract and depth. The ball of thicket cannot be disentangled. The thicket blocks the viewer’s gaze. Using their sharp focus these works confront the abstractions of fields and skies and sharpen the concept of “private proportions,” the autonomy of every work.
From series to series the possibilities are articulated. The attempt to refine, to purify, to leave traces. The memory of density and the great charge that is discharged and turned into the abstract, to no where and no time. Apparently.