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Reviews & Articles

A Person Without Skin

By Ouzi Tzur, Haaretz, 15.7.2019

Every time I see Noam Omer's works I feel jolted. These works are a battle-field of emotional expressiveness and plastic power. Their maker is a person without a skin, totally exposed to life and art. Such are also his works. An anatomy of body and soul, denuded of protective layers, persisting continuously in an extreme condition. The viewer is enjoined to divest himself from his own protective layers, to deliver himself to these artistic works. Maybe the term "Sysiphean" was coined to describe experiences like those of Omer and his art.

Omer's painted drawings are almost panoramic in size. Their large dimensions allow his obsessive creations to overstep the limits of the individual, to those of humanity, to those of the world in which they live and survive, each one for himself. The boundaries between person and world are canceled. The inner anatomy penetrates the surroundings, as an echo of the loss of boundaries between art and life. Some of the figures suffer passively their own invasion, others are active, like prophets of doom whose inner inferno squeezes time and space into a pulp...

"Deep sea" is a work of harrowing power. Four men gripping each other in a clump, but each with a stark individuality etched by his unique hands and face. Or maybe the four are the same person, Omer's alter ego. An electric stream of yellow color separates them from the tempestuous sea and its roaring waves. The sea-men are being absorbed into the raging sea. And yet an individual life-force keeps them afloat, reminding us perhaps of the survivorship of refugees jettisoned on Europe's borders...

Omer's "Witch" is a prophet of doom, enclosed within a wooden hut, maybe a symbol of our lost pioneering innocence. Streaks of cold fire overflow from her mad visage and hair onto the naked hut, shattering the windows, burning the beams. By fully controlling the spread and form of his flames, Omer creates a coreography of horror. In the whole picture there is only one small patch of color: the witche's tongue is yellow, like an emotional vanishing point that draws all the attention to the mouth-crater that portents havoc. Stars run through the witches leg, a sign of her and the artist's ill-fated isolation.

In Omer's Shakesperean figures (Falstaff, McBeth, Lear), the waves and tongues of fire are substituted by the bowels of their exposed anatomy... In "Falstaff" the human person turns into a heap of innards. The face of evil is exposed in its hypnotic ugliness.

July is the season of the final exhibitions of Israeli art academies. Omer's exhibition presents them with a strong challenge. I think that Omer's art, although he finished the Midrashah Art Seminary with distinction, cannot be learned in any art school whatsoever.

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