Lilian Adventures

Galia Pasternak / Lilian Adventures

Opening: 18/11/2010   Closing: 31/12/2010

Lilian Adventures, Exhibition view, Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art, 2010
Lilian Adventures, Exhibition view, Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art, 2010
Lilian Adventures, Exhibition view, Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art, 2010
Lilian Adventures, Exhibition view, Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art, 2010
Lilliane in the Forest of the Dogs, oil on canvas, Lilliane in the Forest of the Dogs, oil on canvas, 25x35cm, 2010
Liliane in the Crystal Ball, oil on canvas, 35x25cm, 2010
Lilliane and the Butterfly Twin, oil on canvas, 25x35cm, 2010
Lilliane and the Twilght Dance, oil on canvas, 30x40cm, 2010
Lilliane on the Lap of the Goddess of Flower Art, oil on canvas, 40x30cm, 2010

“Lilian’s Adventures”, Galia Pasternak’s solo exhibition in Noga Gallery, presents a new series of surprising and fascinating paintings. The series follows the tails of Lillian, a fictitious mythological character, a “super hero” living and moving around between areas of fictional nature, culture and history. The character’s image is based on a playboy centerfold from 1980, “a time when soft porn still corresponded with traditions in classical painting, in relation to the way the female nude was presented and perceived” says Pasternak. “Today’s representations of nudity in porn have almost no connection with reality. Sexual stimulants may need such extremities of blown up images verging on the grotesque, in order to climax. A picture of a beautiful woman with small breasts, sitting crossed legged and hiding her privates, seldom arouses these days”.


Similarly, the nudity in Pasternak’s paintings is na?ve, harmless and unaware of itself. Thereby the viewer is freed from the moral duties that normally confront him in voyeuristic situations.  Our heroin Lilian corresponds not only with the playboy centerfold but also with Eve, Venus and Maria Magdalene. A character of a naked vagabond wandering around a wild, dangerous and beautiful world brings to mind grand tails of voyages by religious characters and comic- book heroes.  Each picture becomes an epic event, concentrating the culmination of the scene- a moment of clarity, of grace, of danger or of pleasure. Pasternak tells the tail of her fictitious heroin Lilian and gives every event a mythical title: “Lilian and the dream on the rocks”, “Lilian inside the dragon’s maw” or “Lilian in the showers of milk and honey”. These titles connect the character to the so called male dominant world of religious myths.


The world Pasternak has created simultaneously brings to mind other examples of references in art history, such as Rousso, Blake, Botticelli, Fuseli, pre- Colombian painting, comics, a mixture of east and west. “This multiculturalism merges ‘high’ and ‘low’ art and allows me to paint the way I like, to say practically anything I wish to say and showcase what I find to be most beautiful. In general, I want to show mostly beauty in my painting, I want to give the viewer an aesthetic pleasure as well as consolation, as if I was sending out a message of kindness. I wish my painting to communicate a narrative coherently” says Pasternak.  While her previous large and colorful work, were always charged with a bizarre, circus like, bitter- sweet tension between animals and human figures, in her current series there is a more organic, even symbiotic relationship between Lillian’s character and different signs of danger or threat. She doesn’t fear threat and rather approaches it as an equal, with no known history, which is exactly what allows her to blend in and consequently win.


In addition to the paintings exhibited in the main gallery space, Pasternak reveals in the project room photographs, sketches and paintings that are in fact a “behind the scenes” look in to the “Lilian’s Adventures” exhibition. The materials she worked with in creating the character, her distinguishing traits and her environment. A supposed peek into the private studio space Pasternak worked in, almost uncensored. A space where the magic of the final art work fades and you can see the “actors” without their costume, in their “real life”. “I find this aspect very intriguing and I deal with it many times in my work. The “making of”- to see a painter paint, to see what goes into the process of his work. Mainly, to see the difference and the distance between what the painter did with the image he chose and the finished product. I find it to be like a detached look at the exhibition, like an exhibition inside an exhibition”.


Galia Pasternak, born 1977, lives and works in Tel Aviv.
Has a BFA with honors and MFA from the Academy of Arts, Bezalel. Studied as part of the student exchange programs at the “Slade” school in London and at the “Ecole de Baux Arts” in Paris. Showed in dozens of group exhibitions in Israel and abroad. In 2008 she published an artist book named “Clips” that accompanied her solo exhibition at the Haifa Museum. Has also had solo exhibitions at the Artist Studios in Tel Aviv and at Noga Gallery.



Bear Hug

Galia Pasternak / Bear Hug

Opening: 07/12/2006   Closing: 05/01/2007

Bear Hug, Exhibition view, Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art, 2006
Bear Hug, Exhibition view, Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art, 2006
Horse portrait, Oil on Canvas, 45x60cm, 2006
Bambi, oil on cardboard, 28x20cm, 2005
The Tourist, 60x100cm, oil on paper, 2005
Albino boy & a Racoon, oil on canvas, 84x55cm, 2006
Athlete, oil on canvas, 145x82cm, 2006

The “Bear hug” paintings feature crowded places; cut out images implanted into the paintings. Images of figures and animals invade each others space, while completely ignoring each others presence. Every image bears its past ethology; however, once inside the collage its identity becomes confused. The image balance is disrupted by exaggerations and extensions; it regains its equilibrium within the constructed set of the painting.


Painting images that come from different spheres in the real world allows their ultimate assimilation in “death”. For me, this is one of the magnificent powers of painting: to show a history of an image, to preserve it, but also erase it – to create a new image. The new image expresses a humoristic, mocking tone coming from the weird crisscross of figures, their expressions and surroundings. The painting “puts” a circus like show – unbelievable, and absurd. Each painting is trying to tell a joke – a bad joke or a pointless gag.


A theatre show, set, image display and directing operate as milestones on the way to the painting. I cut out some pieces of the puzzle, put up a set, add lots of make up or blood stains. The flesh disappears; there are only colors imitating pink, white or brown skin. Patches of color and shine make for furs, hair and blood. The figures are frozen in the ultimate act, at the peak of pathos, forever.


The images were collected from the Internet, magazines, films and edited photographs, adapted and mashed into a collage and then into a painting. For each work, a fictitious storyboard is built with layers of drawing, photograph and color.


No painting comes out the way it was planned. The medium, size and the painting style impose their own constraints. So a small, naïve photograph of a horse galloping through a field becomes a big, flat and detached horse figure.


The body of the image, its fragility, unawareness and intimacy collapse and re-erect. The images are pulled together by links of heavy and light, over exposure, paleness and darkness. It seems that in the heat of darkness it is easier to “rape” vulnerable images. The sole authentic quality an image carries from its previous life is its expression, the very same expression for which it was chosen.


“Bear hug” simulates a chain reaction in the paintings, like a collage that is compulsive. An image is embraced too strongly until it has no choice but to surrender, to kneel before its opponent. It is an allegedly warm and tender expression of a brutal and aggressive act. And so images confront in the paintings hugging each other too strong till overtake that remains undetermined.