The Artist and The Muse

2019

Art Space Tel Aviv

Curator Galit Semel

At first sight Omer's paintings awaken a feeling of bewilderment.  The unceasing torrent of stimuli allows us a blink into the painter's engulfing inner world.  The observer may loose his footing, imagining what it means to be submerged in such a world.

The abundance of detail creates an overload that entraps and intrigues. The thick texture of lines and stains fills the canvas to overflowing. The brush strokes are thickly crowded, creating an explosive dynamic that exposes the critical condition of the characters.  

At the times in which these works were created, Omer focused on large monochromatic canvasses. The many shades of black and grey engender infinite tonalities, dissonant and harmonic at once. One could say he doesn't need to use colors in order to make colored paintings.

There is a frenetic quality to these works.  Figure and ground seem to change places, feeding and devouring each other. The figures dissolve into the background or seem to be re-born out of it, in a kind of repetition compulsion or eternal return.

The heroes of this personal mythology are in constant transformation. The works are filled with a mysterious symbolism, which wavers between the tragic and the grosteque, the rational and the absurd.  Some of the characters seem caught in the attempt to cross over from one dimension to another. Some are specters, others are mutilated, or cut off.  The missing part seems to be still in the other dimension, from which they are trying to emerge. 

In this whirlpool things often become their contrary. Omer's fluid world reminds us of Zygmunt Bauman's "liquid reality", a concept that characterized the post-modern experience, in which the social and cultural coordinates keep changing continuously.  The dizziness engendered by this liquid-reality corresponds with Omer's perpetuum mobile.

The sense of mutual absorption between the figures and the background is the central theme of "Deep Sea", where a menacing group seems about to close upon the central figure while the waves of the surrounding sea seem about to close upon the menacing group.  There is no inkling of stability in view.  Everything flows.

Omer's characters seem to exist in mythological time, a time that never was and always is.  Though the figures often lack a stable contour, each painting creates its own crystalized reality, where the vortex gains a pictorial permanence.

The stories that Noam has spun around his "muses" have their origin in various artistic, literary and mythological sources. One of his chief muses is the painter Lucian Freud.  Quite a few references to Freud are hidden in the present show.  Other artists are also ensconced between the waves, such as Da Vinci and van Gogh (who are homaged in Noam's obsession with eddies), William Blake and his crazy world (where the Artist-Adam crawls on all fours to collect some crumbs of inspiration from the muse thats towers upon him like a S&M domina), and Edvard Munch, whose melancholia pervades Omer's defeated heroes to the marrow. 

The characters reflect Omer's interest in the epic and legendary.  Omer pays homage to Shakespeare with McBeth, King Lear, Lear's fool, and Falstaff.  Shakespeare's tragic and grotesque heroes, who are often hurled or shipwrecked into the stage of life, are fitting inhabitants of Omer's works.  They reflect his view of the artist as a paradoxical figure, a prophetic anti-hero, both sovereign and submissive, wallowing and glorying in the message he is obliged to bear. 

Viewing those pictures requires us to pause in an effort at contemplation and reflexion.  They demand the viewer to position herself both at a distance and closer up.  They give us a blink into the forcefulness of Omer's mission and vision, a labor to which he consacrates his time, energy and heart.  

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