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.