The imagery in Oren Eliav’s paintings demonstrate themselves facing the audience. Whether these are architectural elements (decorated alter, ornamented ceiling), objects and pieces of clothing (bell, cloak or helmet) or whether these are characters that appear as is (singers, musicians, lecturers or queens) – they present the observer with an astonishing abundance. In Eliav’s painting, these hollow and containing images are present on the surface – their own complex shell.
Eliav’s painting tracks the images, and later he tracks himself. He works from close up, from the inside, from a distance through which seeing can hardly be based on logic. Therefore, although he depicts images that are very detailed, approaching the painting does not reveal the components of the image or sharpen the view, but rather is revealed to be movement that leads to disintegration – into lines and drips, brushstrokes that are scattered and winding. In those moments, when the painting tracks the decoration, it strips off decorum, and reveals underneath it the simple, tangible work of painting. This is also a state in which vision collapses as an organizing and ordering sense, or as a metaphor for order or world view, and returns to serving as a basic, physical, tangible sense that draws closer and merges with other senses, such as hearing or touch.
The shapes and objects in Eliav’s paintings are extended and stretched, curved from one end to the other, are multiplied, leaving traces and scattering vapor throughout the canvas. The painting work devotes itself to the excess and pathos typical of performance ceremonies, while their exaggeration and baseless-ness remain pressed onto the full and diverse surface of the painting. The brushstrokes in the painting merge with one another and amass, during viewing, into a presence that is in the process of being created. The suggestive viewing experience, that turns color into smoke, vapor or lighting, is also the process of awakening and activating these images in the continual present. Yet at the same time, each brushstroke also refers to painting’s ancient past and ancient examples. Thus, in Eliav’s paintings, images and the work of painting participate together in the simultaneousness of the magnificent and the baseless.
12 b Hasharon St., Tel Aviv