On the flower-strewn meadow, with leafy branches rustling overhead… (Spring)
Soft breezes stir the air, but threatening north wind sweeps them suddenly aside. (Summer)
The singing and dancing die away as cooling breezes fan the pleasant air, inviting all to sleep without a care. (Fall)
We feel the chill north winds coarse through the home despite the locked and bolted doors… this is winter, which nonetheless brings its own delights… (Winter)
—From Vivaldi’s Four Seasons sonnets
From Monet to Vivaldi, the Bible to the Byrds, countless poets and painters, myth-makers and bards have been captivated by the turning of the seasons. And so too artist Rotem Reshef, whose monumental painting installation Time Traveler not only takes inspiration from the turning of the seasons, but fairly enacts the cycle in an architecturally engaged composition of interwoven hand-painted canvas scrolls unfurling across the University of LaVerne’s Tall Wall exhibition space. At 33 x 46 feet, tall it is, and wide, but still it is only just able to contain the vastness that animates and is contained within Reshef’s unstretched expanses of latitude and longitude.
An action painter who works in the physically and psychically charged tradition of Abstract Expressionists like Pollock and Frankenthaler and eccentric colorists like Morris Louis, Reshef has for some time been interpreting Nature’s patterns along the micro-macro continuum of geology, anatomy, and the motion of the elements. Having moved beyond familiar depictive models, Reshef has developed a unique hybrid methodology, in which she replicates those forces directly on the canvas, creating evidence, artifacts, and effects that while unmistakable as compositions of nature, are anything but pictures. In the case of Time Traveler and its structural and spiritual responsiveness to the seasons, this meant working over the course of several months, through the changes of days, light, and weather, marking time both on the clock and in the studio, as she deftly morphed her palette from hot to warm, cool, and cold — the internal and interwoven gradients themselves suggesting both the passage of time and the perceptible changes in the world around us.
Engineered through the adaptive use of unconventional and industrial materials, Reshef’s process is almost performative in its complexity and duration. She deftly and intuitively orchestrates the behavior of paint according to the forces of things like gravity, evaporation, the pooling of washes inside crinkle-carved rivers, and the frozen gradients of pigment tides in flat-folded canyons. Painting flat using industrial plastic sheeting to create contact with the paint in place of hand or brush, by some paradoxical physical alchemy, the processes of motion and operations of air and time generate self-referential and transcendent imagery. As she works, paint traces transfer between “seasons” leaving remnants inside bubbles and folds, creating a temporal, poetic, geological blending expressive of the gradual shift of the year’s perennial circle. There’s a ghosting effect where the plastic and other ephemeral materials are removed from dried pigment fields, leaving voids, veins, and sundry fractal clues concerning how the painted world was made.
Reshef sees her relationship to her materials as collaborative, mediated perhaps but ultimately not controlled. There is evidence of her decisions but not of her hand. Her navigation of architectural scale and immersive space is embracing rather than overwhelming, but yet too big to see all at once, thereby generating motion in the eye and body — turn, turn, and turn again — and thereby in the mind and spirit.
OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, October 12, 2017 | 6pm - 8pm
ARTIST TALK w/ Shana Nys Dambrot: Sunday, October 15, 2017 | 1pm-3pm
EXHIBITION DATES: September 5 - December 15, 2017
TALL WALL SPACE | University of LaVerne, 1950 3rd St, La Verne, California 91750