Place Remains | Avi Eisenstein


Avi Eisenstein, designer and artist, professor at the Bezalel Academy, presents a solo exhibition in Israel, following an extended international artistic activity.


In a meditative painting process, following a stage of preparatory drawings, Eisenstein creates nature and landscape images in black and white that recreate the landscapes of his childhood. His paintings unite two opposing and complementary approaches: the harmonic Western approach, and the traditional Japanese approach which is aware of the imprint of time and of imperfection in nature. Light is a central subject in his paintings, through which the painterly dialogue is held with the empty canvas. His paintings converse with the art of the Far East, with its ancient tradition of brush drawings and Zen art. Eisenstein identifies the relation between black and white as the same contrasting and complementing relation that pertains between forgetting and memory, the hidden and the overt, reality and hallucination.

 

“My painting is drawn from a deep memory that has been covered with forgetfulness. In my childhood I was exposed to the core of the world: at a very early age, five or six, I would accompany my father, who was a road construction contractor, on visits to the quarry on the northern ridge of the Carmel mountain. I remember in exact detail the quarry and the rocky surface that was revealed after the quarrying. My gaze did not only take in the split stones but penetrated into the depths of the earth. There I was exposed to the work of Creation – the entangled roots of olive trees, burnt tree trunks, a brook of ground water. The sights of the quarry had been assimilated and dimmed with the passing of time, and only when I started painting did they resurface and take over me. The paintings shown in the exhibition have been painted in the past years out of an obsessive compulsion to evoke these impressions of the first sights. In a certain sense, I create landscape paintings, but these are not necessarily the landscapes I saw, rather mental landscapes that always take me back to the same place.”

 

From a conversation with Tami Manor-Friedman, September 2012