Uprooted Beauty - Exhibition Text Peace Gallery, Givat-Haviva, 2014.
Michal Rubens: Her paintings straddle the line between colorful, naïve realism and a sense of threat and darkness. Rubens writes: "My painting is driven by collective memories—historical events that are so culturally charged that, even though I did not personally experience them, have become ingrained in me as if they were my own memories. Through stories of family members and others, I am exposed to the relationship between destruction, or annihilation, and nostalgia for childhood and for the culture of a distant homeland." Rubens blends the past and the present, the real and the imaginary, and fragments of stories and memories, embedding them into the canvas.
Nasrin Abu Baker: A multidisciplinary artist who explores women's issues and individual identity. Abu Baker uses explicitly masculine and feminine symbols and inserts women into a political–social context from which they are usually absent. The materials she uses are culturally charged, rooted in her heritage and traditions. Abu Baker addresses questions and conflicts related to the internal and the external, concealment and exposure, masculinity and femininity, and personal struggles, and she touches on underprivileged communities and seeks to portray them in her work.
The works of Abu Baker and Rubens explore femininity, and the doubts and uncertainties that characterize a woman's world and her traditional roles. The artists' works allude to violence, to bleeding and to sexual discovery.
Abu Baker's work examines the figure of the Arab woman, drawing from a deep familial bond and from the artist's cultural heritage. Her works are inspired by her day-to-day life, her childhood memories, family events and objects from her family's storage space.
Rubens' paintings deal with threats to identity, emotional responses, fears, disgust and passion (inspired by the writings of the philosopher Julia Kristeva). Many of her figures look straight ahead, allowing the observer to enter their intimate spaces and explore their boundaries.
The exhibition is called "Uprooted Beauty". In art and in everyday life, the term "beauty" frequently refers to external or superficial aspects of a person or object. By captivating one's senses, does beauty obscure "truer" values? What is uprooted beauty?
Rubens and Abu Baker do not choose silence; they do not close their eyes and forget. Deeply conscious of the worlds they portray, they seek to communicate, to convey reality by giving cognitive meaning to the body and to its symbols. They bridge between reality and the human eye that examines, judges and describes. In their works, a fine line separates the intimate from the symbiotic. They distinguish reality, memory, and the artistic language used to describe them.
Are their paintings dedicated to beauty? To the uprooted? To mere memory? They convey memories and experiences that have touched the artists yet remain in the past.
The pain expressed in the work serves to evoke memories, and to teach us about the larger reality we live in.
The artists' paintings, and their persistence in creating art, their insistence on becoming familiar with themselves through what they are not, is the essence of their lives.
It is impossible to eliminate the "bodiness" of the body. —Uprooted Beauty.
Curators: Eti Amram/Osnat Ben-Shalom