View from Black to Blue

The Gallery on the Cliff- Netanya, Israel, November 2008

Curator: Monika Lavi

Keren Anavy presents View from Black to Blue a solo show at The Gallery on the Cliff works that were made last year and were exhibited last summer at the solo gallery in Tel Aviv, and new works were made especially for the current exhibition.

In her paintings Anavy uses two main images, the kaffiyeh and the tiger that she dismantles and makes up again. In the first viewing, the works act as a kind of pre-cognitive emotion, a term that follows an instinctive response based on sensory information that does not fully work before the consciousness has time to enter into action. In these situations, the “bread or flight” mechanism is activated, which causes us to flee for our lives or to fight for our lives, and it ignites on the basis of isolated hints of the threatening factor. This emotion arises at the sight of the large Untitled painting, automatically activating our physical, cultural and political alarms, thereby attesting to the extent to which local politics has become nature and internalized within the body. This response later changes to a more relaxed state of mind, which allows for a thorough examination of the threat factors and yet is constantly present. Anavy confronts the viewer with fears that are stronger than him, while at the same time mesmerizing him with them. As the eye goes on and continues into the painting, into the kaffiyeh shapes that turn into a decorative model or the tiger that reveals fangs and gets tangled in the thicket of the painting as if the painting itself had risen to strike it, the viewer finds himself trapped in the paths woven in the painting, in the large spaces he offers.

In the opposite wall, on a long, narrow strip of paper, in other Untitled, the models become more abstract. As we move along it, the painting opens and closes, the models shrink and then open into bloody birds that fall to the ground. The model comes out of control, the careful planning frees itself, the terror of the void lets go for a moment, and immediately returns.

Anavy’s painting offers us binary options: compressed – spacious, black and white, planned – random, image – abstraction, beauty – violence. And in many ways it constitutes a kind of Rorschach test for the viewer’s perceptions. But this binaries     exists only ostensibly. In her paintings, Anavy repeats the binary principle and offers reading possibilities that contain the contrasts. Out of struggle, sometimes with violence, but with a tempting offer to confront demons.