Yuval Shaul: Alchemical Shifts
Curated by Tamar Arnon & Eli Zagury
2 November – 8 December 2018
Private View: Thursday 1 November 2018, 6-8 pm
515 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011
Christine Park Gallery is pleased to present the first solo exhibition by Tel Aviv based multidisciplinary artist Yuval Shaul, widely known for his sculptures and large scale installations composed of photography and painting. Shaul presents an extensive new body of vibrant abstract paintings in addition to a New York debut of one of his signature sculpture’s “Self-portrait with Myself’.
This year, Shaul has returned to painting after two decades of focusing on making sculpture. In recent months, Shaul has produced colourful abstract paintings using oil paints mixed with industrial metal paints, thinners and yacht varnishes, which interact with each other creating dynamic compositions. This unique personal painting process marks his own individual practice of ‘action painting’. The results are distinctive in surface and complex in texture.
Shaul’s layered and seductive paintings are created through a process that sees him working as an artist in an alchemical way. His practice is deeply inspired by great masters who sought to innovate like Jan van Eyck and more recently Sigmar Polke.
These paintings are created through mental, physical and chemical battles. Shaul anarchically mixes materials and creates his dynamic compositions by lifting the papers in different directions and propping them up on various stands so that the colours mix, drip, run and eventually settle.
Shaul’s recent abstract paintings are evocative of powerfully emotional musical compositions. Using colours as his ‘instruments’ he creates movement and tension in an on-going harmonious dialogue between colour and form.
The energy of this process speaks of his male identity; the colours are now the gateway through which he passes to reach the truth of his feelings. The language of these works, expressed through easy and accessible means, exudes great clarity and embodies the energetic frequency of all the issues and themes investigated over his 30-year career.
Shaul is preoccupied with man’s conflicting strengths and weaknesses. His own mixed family background may shed some light on his creative journey. He was born in Israel, an isolated country in the Middle East, to parents whose origins were in Burma, Iraq, Iran and Macedonia. The son of first and second-generation immigrants, he has always lived and worked in Tel Aviv, a vibrant, cosmopolitan, hedonistic and liberal city.
This exhibition will also feature one of Shaul’s most important sculptures ‘Self-portrait with Myself’. It features a man holding up another man who, on close inspection, is revealed to be the artist holding himself. The artist is dressed in his signatory jeans and t-shirt and is supporting his own duplicate self, conveying a sense of anguish, grievance, difficulty and resistance.
This sculpture reflects a number of other themes he has previously explored including nature versus mankind, violence and war and the solitude and angst often felt by artists. In ‘Self-portrait with Myself’ Shaul questions his own role in society and demonstrates his obsessive preoccupation with survival.
Tamar Arnon and Eli Zagury,
London, September 2018