On May 6, 2011 Mike Weiss Gallery presented Garden of the Gods, a solo exhibition by Israeli artist Yigal Ozeri. The exhibition includes more than a dozen near-photorealistic oil paintings varying in size from small intimate works displayed in vitrines to large-scale paintings measuring up to eight feet.

This new series reflects Ozeri’s continued interest in capturing the spirit of his subjects – ageless sirens in timeless garb, enveloped in the beauty of a vast landscape. Through his heartfelt quest to capture his muses’ energy, he creates work that transcends the subjects’ materiality. Time and locale are ambiguous and in many works there is no indication of the horizon or the sky, imbuing a sense of infinity to an otherwise brief moment. All traces of urbanity have been erased and Ozeri’s women become surrogates of nature.

For Garden of the Gods, Ozeri has embarked on an exploration of scale, creating miniature paintings in keeping with his signature style. These works are exhibited in glass cases, as if in curiosity cabinets – treasured relics of a bygone era. The manner of presentation renders them untouchable on both literal and metaphorical levels despite the approachability of their intimate size and immediate presence.

That Ozeri relies on photographs as source material is relevant. In his essay “Meditations on the Space in Between,” Shlomi Rabi notes that by painstakingly re-creating photographs Ozeri “…breathes life into the fleeting moments that he had captured, challenging the momentary recording of the photograph, turning the temporal to the eternal. If any spirit had been stolen in the photographing process, Ozeri lovingly restores it to the women depicted. The paintings, accordingly, are not to be read as photorealistic, but rather, as transcending reality, a visual meditation on the soul.”

Yigal Ozeri was born in Israel and has lived and worked in New York for the past twenty years. He has been exhibiting with Mike Weiss Gallery since 2003 and has shown extensively around the world with recent solo shows in Bologna, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Amsterdam and Munich. His work is included in prominent permanent collections including the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, The Jewish Museum in New York, The New York Public LibraryThe Israel Museum in Jerusalem, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Haifa Museum of Art, the Scheringa Museum Voor Realisme in the Netherlands, and the Albertina in Vienna, among others.

The show continues through June 11th, 2011. For additional information please contact Anna Ortt, Director at anna@mikeweissgallery.com.

Mike Weiss Gallery

520 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10011 Between 10th and 11th Avenues
Gallery Hours: Tues-Sat 10 to 6

Indira Cesarine
Photos by Jeffrey Gamble

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