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A Different Israeli Abstraction

A Different Israeli Abstraction. It bypasses "New Horizons", and is set free from the harmonious memories of "Fima" (her mentor in the early seventies). It embraces the composition and scribbling of Nikel while making a constant personal statment: massiveness, pressure, conquest, presence. Passionate expressions of a gentle, searching soul. That, in essence, is the paradox behind these paintings: the bold, daring symbols of a gentle soul. And friends of Tamar Dubrovsky would agree, that the same features characterize her personality.

Grays and purples, blues and greens. Warm colors cooled by gray; cool ones warmed by yellow. Shades of pent-up emotion yarning to explode. Restrained lust, with hints of melancholy stirring beneath the surface. Daring lust, expressed by dramatic storks of a self-assured, judgmental, definite brush. Color dragged across the canvas, firmly implanted with no trace of the hesitant layers, ambivalent erasures and cover-ups so characteristic of lyrical Israeli abstraction.

That's the way it is. At times the brush stroke is depressing. It dives, descends, or just drops exuding a lack of confidence. A tenacious attempt at bold statement of unsure existence; as if the blooming, spring like joie-de-vivre of the short multicolor brush stroks is merely an illusion of spring in the midst of autumn. Illusions, since at the core of Tamar Dubrovsky's art are "heavy" expansive planes. In her miniatures, it is even more obvious: blobs of color crowding the canvas as if to say spring is merely the desire, the wish. The same exhilarating brush stroke, the sudden leaps, the unabashed pride and youthful courage are marred by harsh words scrawled on the canvas. Words that forebode the autumn such as "why", "wall", "coming of evil", "stones". Or paths on a collision course, blocked, jammed, crammed into a corner with no way out. The same thick, self-assured, brush storks that sometimes look like the wax seal of a formal decree or official authorization, are really winding paths, lonely lanes aimlessly adrift in space. Dead ends. Perhaps saying that the very act and the road are in themselves the goal. Even if the way is lost.

The elegant harmony so evident in these paintings reveals an inner discordance. Every vibrant banner of color exists on its own, blocks itself with color traces, soars, searching for a nonexistent road. One can interpret every soaring ribbon as a hypothetical road sign saying "I was here". (Just like "Van Eyck was here" inscribed by the Flemish artist on his renowned work, "The Arnolfinis".) But also asking "Where do I go from here?" For After all, what is the road if not a searching for a way? Paths grow into fields, roads are transformed into landscapes until the landscape has no resort. It is as if every brush search becomes a surface in itself (isn't that why it's equipped with thick, abundant color?). Every color blob yearns to be a full life, a complete picture. But it's slashed stopped in its path, yielding its place to yet another way, another road that perhaps will be more successful and lead to the ultimate landscape. Each road differs, a change of color, a reversed direction. Without a doubt, the painting is a field of transient truths. In the long-term view, it's a battlefield strewn with the hesitation and ambivalence that lead to new beginnings resulting from disappointing roads, already taken. In sum, the painting is a survivor. A diary of the soul. A certain lyricism exists in these canvases. Hidden in thin veils of color, in drips and scribbles. But Tamar Dubrovsky doesn't give in to lyricism, She knows that survival demands strength and she mobilizes hers to the maximum resulting in exhilarating explosions that reveal vulnerability as opposed to aggressiveness. A "me against the rest of the world" stance; isolated, yet determined and strong. This is, therefore, a painting of self-encouragement, a rigorous battle against getting lost in the shuffle. If a path turns into a field, the field in turn, becomes a wasteland. It is from there that the artist resorts to that formal decree that fights back with daring impasto. She will not surrender. Wide, open freedom is a source of concern, and Tamar's swift counteraction is impasto. Her paintings are existential: a choice, a rebellion, and a wish for strength.

Dr. Gideon Ofrat


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