Locked in His World
The Triangle Art, Ramat Gan
Curator Sari Golan
The Poetry of Flesh – on the exhibition "Locked In His World"
Uzi Tzur – "Haaretz" Oct. 30, 2015
It is believed that the artist is a precise time-piece, telling the objective time in which he lives. Noam Omer's paintings and drawings tell the inner time. Time that stops moving, and yet is up to date. The inner time incorporates the collective time, creating a timeless unity. Omer is an artist in his very own category. He draws from within the well of his own life as well as from art and cultural history, building an intensive-expressive mixture. His work feels like his very own oxygen pipe into the depths of the world in which he is caged.
Wondering if there is any other artist who might be close to him, I thought of Pinhas Tzinovitz. In spite of the stylistic difference there is a closeness in the intensiveness, the totality, the absolute self-exposure. Like Tzinovitz, Omer peels the skin from the surface, uncovering raw flesh, bones, muscles and arteries; the anatomy of death during life. In distinction from Tzinovitz, the most powerful element in Omer's art is the line rather than color. Omer is not afraid to etch ornamental tattoos in the exposed flesh, arousing outrage at the clash between the anatomical and decorative.
Omer is enclosed in his own world as if on a desert island. His civilized residues work inside him as an organic humus, opening up in a bodily-spiritual fan, falling apart and rebuilding itself, creating form on the edge of chaos.
His panoramic "Venus" is built out of active color cells and a black skeleton-frame, which Omer imposes upon the living colors. He defies conventions of "right coloring" , keeping warm and cold tones strictly apart. The colors are reserved for the quasi cubistic landscape that is torn from the sky, while the masculine Venus, a teeming androgynous body, a black and white landscape in itself, towers above the little stream from which he/she rises. The figure of Venus is a battlefield boiling over from the inside, congealed lava that flew between the rocks, cast into a male-female nude, the navel a volcanic crater, the penis gashed, the palm with the stigmata, directed at us the would-be believers. Venus becomes Jesus and Jesus becomes Venus. Venus is matched by a pair of angel-demons, animal and human, adoring and mocking at once.
In the painting "Grandma Sonia Locked in Her World", Omer succeeds in an agonizing way to capture Sonia's world, closed in from the outside, breaking apart irremediably from the inside. A painting that is almost an anti-painting: a colored Roentgen-image, a venomous phosphorous radiation mapped by a black contour, the external skeleton of a ruin integrating the wild disconnected color stains into a pictorial unity. The painting renounces all accepted ideas about beauty, forcing us to concentrate on Sonia's haunted face, that both looks at us and avoids our look, begging us to save her from herself while leaving us with a burden of guilt. The fragments that constitute the face are painted in black, an aggressive black, non-pictorial, inhuman. The room tiles are bars that jail her inexorably with her jagged wounding memories. The more you look, the more you feel that Sonia and her world burn. Her fury and past are a consuming fire locked within her and within whoever created and destroyed her in one stroke.
In "Trio With Nature Morte" there are echoes of a lost, Yiddish- Eastern European ethnography, a ghostly past, a collective "dybbuk", a trinity of male faces, casting flames of fanatic holiness. A fire peeled the skin off the faces, revealing the flesh and the muscles and splinters of broken time. We feel Van Gogh's touch on those disfigured figures, who maintain their humanity as they look upon a fantastic nature morte crowned by a pile of old books, the impossible dream of starving knowledge-seekers.
Omer's pastel works are amazingly powerful and beautiful. Something in the softness of the pastel colors bridges somewhat between drawing and painting, line and stain, black and color, without diminishing the power of each. In "Sinking", which shows us Sonia lying on her back, her face and neck have been skinned, revealing the geology of her flesh and life, a living drawing which branches into the color whirlpool of her body-cloth.
The "Triangle" in which this exhibition is held is not a usual gallery, but a space in which artists find shelter. It belongs to Sari Golan and offers visitors the special advantage of viewing works that are not on the walls. In this case, Omer's works on paper, which Golan draws out from folders that lye scattered around the room, continue to tell Omer's story as an ongoing earthquake.