A text by Oded Zaidel for Lena Zaidel´s exhibition: Almost Paradise , 2015, Agripas 12 Gallery, Jerusalem
Adam and Eve, 2014, acrylic and charcoal on paper, 105X280, Photo: Michael Amar
Within Reach / Oded Zaidel
Lena Zaidel´s series, "Almost Paradise," was conceived after the large exhibition, "Street Wolves," which was exhibited two years ago in the Artist´s House in Jerusalem, and expresses a spirit of the new. After over ten years during which she worked on wolves roaming the Jerusalem streets, there is a shift. The scenery in which the scenes that appear in the works take place are not Jerusalem landscapes and the heros are not wolves, but other animals and human beings.
Here too, the works are based on photographs. In this new series there is a combination of meticulous sketches and free flowing paint, and an attempt at different perspectives and three dimensional work: Almost Paradise echoes creation, the story of creation. There is humor in the choice of the title as well as in the works: on the one hand, freedom, joy, pomposity, and wild carnival figures, and on the other hand, the figures that appear in the work are ambiguous and are not specifically related to the traditional concept of "Paradise."
There is an encounter between life and non-life, between the breathing and the frozen, and boundaries are fluid and blurred. The series is based on photographs that depict pieces of landscape along the way from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea - the periphery of Israeli civilization. These are stands at which kitsch figurines are sold for garden decoration. On the one hand, there is regional cooperation - peace, business as usual - but on the other hand, it is all scenery.
A pastural corner, an oasis in the desert, grass beneath an umbrella, tables and chairs with cars in the background - peace and quiet - but a terrifying snake that winds along the entire painting disturbs the idyllic picture, while a sign anouncing an ATM machine reminds us of our mundane lives. A nude couple, not clear whether dead or alive, floats in the waters of a river or lake, while streams of water gush from their mouths and around them float jugs, flower pots, and garden decorations, and their hands almost touch each other - as in Michelangelo´s painting, "The Creation of Man", and as in the title of Gilead Sher´s book, "Within Reach": almost peace - almost Paradise.
Lena Zaidel, 2023
New website: https://lenazaidel.com
Measurements are given in centimeters, height ª width
All the reproduction photos of Lena Zaidel's artworks in this website,
are taken by Michael Amar, unless otherwise noted.