Cup and Window (Fall), 2022

Avital Burg

Cup and Window (Fall), 2022
Oil on linen mounted to wood
7.5 x 7 in

My paintings are based on the direct observation of the world which I construct in my studio. They incorporate my physical surroundings, such as the walls and floor alongside an ever-changing archive of personal and art historical images. My physical involvement with the most basic material from which my paintings are made, oil and canvas, is crucial. My compositions record hybrid histories that I create as a way to cross different times and places. During the warmer months, I bring wildflowers found at the edges of my neighborhood into the studio and paint them rapidly before they wilt. The name of the street and the date where they were picked subsequently become the painting’s title. Other recurring images are - brick walls that are reminiscent of the Jerusalem stone that surrounded my early years, a beat-up cardboard box, and a broken gilded frame. This amalgam of personal symbolism is not dissimilar to my own migratory path from Jerusalem to Brooklyn. Portraits, self-portraits, and architecture, particularly of homes, frequently appear as a way to link the current moment with historical pasts such as Roman Egyptian mummy portraiture, the Early Renaissance and the Baroque period. Isolating mundane objects and dedicating many hours of observation and painting to each one of them became a way for me to contemplate slowness and the attention it lends to the tactile and actual existence, in times of detachment, surrounded by the flatness of rapidly moving images.

In order to reflect on how the present moment encapsulates different times, my paintings incorporate dried paint mixed with fresh paint. Some canvases are completed over three or four previous works. Over time the surfaces became thicker and richer as I experimented with the materiality of oil on canvas. I frequently vary the amount of impasto throughout a composition with built up areas that have a low-relief sculptural quality. These paintings reflect my own time and labor, and aim to slow down the viewer’s experience.

A Brooklyn-based artist from Tel Aviv, Avital Burg creates highly personal works by utilizing specific references from history of art and her own. Burg paints her studio’s physical surroundings, such as the walls and floor, and an ever-changing archive of personal and art historical images, using dense paint textures, on the verge of relief. Symbolic and enigmatic, her carefully crafted canvases appear to be spontaneous and somewhat precarious, as they recall legends and traditions of the past and reflect on present day.

Burg's work was recently shown solo shows at Browse & Darby in association with Crean and Company, London (2022), Pamela Salisbury Gallery, NY (2021), Slag Gallery, NYC (2017) and Neve Schechter Gallery, Tel Aviv (2019-2020). Her work was part of two-person exhibitions at Arts at AJU, Los Angeles, and Club Caltural Matienzo, Buenos Aires. It was also featured in the Greenpoint Film Festival NY, In the Islip Art Museum, NY, as well as in several group shows in New York and Tel Aviv. She was the May 2022 artist in residence of the Interlude Residency in NY, and of the Peleh Residency in California in 2019. Burg's work are part of many collections world-wide, among them are the Louis-Dreyfus Family Collection, NY, The Bank Leumi art collection, Israel, and Mr. Dov Shiff collection, Israel. Burg attended the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, “Hatahana” school of figurative drawing and painting, Tel Aviv, The Slade School of Art, London, and the New York Studio School.

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