GROUP EXHIBIT : SUMMER LANDSCAPES

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On View July 5 – August 31, 2014

In the spirit of summer, Julie M. Gallery is pleased to present Summer Landscapes, a celebration of the beauty of the summer months. Featuring work by Atsmon Ganor, Deganit Berest, Ram Samocha, Susan G. Scott and Gideon Tomaschoff, we invite you to contemplate the effervescent light and saturated hues that characterize summer.

Deganit Berest and Shai Kremer: Beneath the Tranquility

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Beneath the Tranquility features recent work by Deganit Berest and Shai Kremer that explores the relation between a photograph and an image of reality. Berest and Kremer are interested in the concept that the photograph is a document with distinctive temporal signature, something that ‘has-been-there,’ and through this process, become souvenirs or memories. Both Kremer and Berest wrestle with this notion, digitally manipulating ‘documents’ to create works that cast doubt on the authority of the photograph. Both Kremer and Berest create worlds of contradiction constantly in flux, where meaning is not, and cannot, be fixed. Through this, Berest and Kremer allow for interpretive personal engagement and the formation of alternative realities.

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Berest’s work plays with the boundaries of photography and painting, deliberately undermining the perception of photography as a direct representation of experience. Using the technical processes of disassembly, projection, screening or enlargement, Berest manipulates images creating tension between sight and consciousness. Berest’s work is enigmatic and unsure, undermining ideas and motifs as they are presented. The axis of Berest’s work is the encounter between the methodic and the random- her work is precise and carefully planned, but once completed, the image becomes transitory and mysterious, as the subject disintegrates under the gaze of the viewer.

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In Icarus, Berest depicts the mythological figure, his feet sticking out of the sea. Icarus is repeatedly depicted in Berest’s work, a reference to failed ambition, approaching tragedy, sinking, drowning and death. The enticing beauty of the saturated colours and sparkling water belie the darker side of nature that Berest explores thematically: the slow, passive process of death at sea, a gradual engulfing by the very nature Icarus sought to outwit. Berest frequently returns to the motif of water, fascinated by the qualities of water that entice and frighten. The photograph is transitory, blurring and disintegrating under the gaze of the viewer.

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In Concrete Abstract, Kremer turns his lens to the reconstruction of the World Trade Center. Photographs taken of the WTC site over the course of a few years are repeatedly layered, condensing time and space into massive abstract visuals. Through sustained viewings, details emerge and secede, with meaning and interpretation changing constantly.Kremer reflects on Roland Barthes’ notion that the photograph depicts something that, without a doubt, “has been there,” with construction workers, spectators, and cityscapes, all acting as a witness to a moment in time. Kremer, however, undermines any simplistic reading or interpretation of an image; through the repeated layering of photographs, Kremer seeks to “underscore the ambivalent emotional weight accompanying every process of deconstruction and reconstruction: beneath the surface remains a traumatic historical baggage, a legacy.” While Berest’s works seem to disintegrate under the gaze, Kremer’s photographs sharpen and crystallize as layers beneath the surface are explored.

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Kremer’s stunning panorama captures The Urban Warfare Training Center (UWTC), a mock city nicknamed Chicago built on the military base Tze’elim in the middle of the Negev Desert to stimulate an ‘Arab Town’. Chicago has mosques, schools, shops, a kasbah and a cemetery that doubles as a soccer field, all of which can be reconfigured to represent specific villages or cities depending on the operational scenario. Charred automobiles and tires litter the roadways, while Arabian music is played during training exercises.

To capture this stunning image, photographer and former IDF soldier Shai Kremer had to avoid both light sensors and the hourly patrols that sweep this otherwise deserted fake city.  At the right of the piazza, a squadron can be seen laying their equipment on the ground.  Kremer’s lens covertly registers soldiers in the central turret—a hawk-like patrol that surveils the ground below for signs of activity or illicit intruders.

The haunting beauty of the photograph immediately seduces, but the eerie lights in the place of windows betray the unreality of the site, hinting at darker themes. Using the 19th century technique of the panorama, Kremer draws reference to historical cities, grounding the abstract beauty of the image in both a historical tradition and real lived spaces.

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Shai Kremer Spring 2014 Updates

  Shai Kremer, World Trade Center Concrete Abstract #14, archival inkjet print, 60x80”

INTERNATIONAL SHOWS  

ISRAEL MUSEUM, JERUSALEM (ISRAEL)

‘Collecting Dust in Contemporary Israeli Art’

LAST WEEK ! Until Apr 5, 2014 | For more details, please click here

MUSEO DE ARTE CONTEMPORANEA, VIGO (SPAIN) 

‘History, seen by artists’

Until May 25, 2014 | For more details, please click here

JULIE M GALLERY, TORONTO (CANADA)  

‘Shai Kremer, Deganit Berest’

May 1 – Jun 6, 2014 | For more details, please click here

     ARTFAIRS | FESTIVALS 

AIPAD 2014 NEW YORK (USA)

Apr 10 – 13, 2014  | Booth of Robert Koch Gallery| Website

INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL 2014 (ISRAEL)

Apr 5 – 19, 2014  | Website

PHOTOESPANA 14 (SPAIN)  

Jun 5 – Aug 24, 2014 | Centro de Historias, Zaragoza | Website

     PRESS 

 LIBERATION  

’30 tirages de reves’ | For more details, please click here

HOTEL DES ARTS (TOULON, FRANCE)

‘History, seen by artists’ | For more details, please click here

Deganit Berest and Shai Kremer: Beneath the Tranquility

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Beneath the Tranquility features abstract photography by Deganit Berest and Shai Kremer that explore the notion of photographic truth. Berest and Kremer create painterly works where meaning is not fixed, allowing for a contemplation of what lies beneath the surface of the photographs.

Berest’s “Sea Level” starts with snapshots, which are then digitally manipulated, creating images constructed of a grid of large scale pixels. While the integrity of the original image is preserved, the size of the pixels is sometimes exaggerated to a point where the image is hardly recognizable. Berest is interested in reaching a threshold where the viewer might oscillate between seeing the work as ‘meaningless’ geometric abstract shapes on the surface, but then, suddenly, might experience recognition that these seemingly random stacks of cubes become a specific image.

In Concrete Abstract, Kremer turns his lens to Manhattan in the aftermath of 9/11, documenting the process of reconstruction. Through the repeated layering of photographs, Kremer condenses time and space into massive abstract visuals. Kremer reminds us that “beauty can be an even more powerful conveyor of difficult ideas,” creating abstract cityscapes that form a sophisticated hybrid of art and documentary journalism.

Untitled (Diver #2), 2008, pigment print on paper, 110x110 cm. edition of 4

Deganit Berest spearheaded a generation of Israeli artists whose work would come to shape the art scene of their country. Working in a former diamond-cutting factory, her choice of studio reflects the pursuit of a faceted, pixilated ideal within her paintings and photographs, which are characterized by liminality, stillness and stasis. Using the trope of the ubiquitous pixel, Berest confronts the schism between today’s reality and its parallel, the digital world.​

​​​Shai Kremer is an exciting and subversive conceptual photographer whose work has garnered enthusiastic international acclaim.  Kremer’s critical photographs document the often-invisible training grounds, loci, and networks of military power that have sculpted the history of domination and control in Israel from ancient times through the present.  Ruined interiors and landscapes infected with loaded sediments of oppressive conflict become a platform for discussion around the manifestations and misuses of power.  Kremer is collected in North America by the MET, the SFMoMA and Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Photography, among other institutions.  He has recently exhibited at the Tate Modern.

Upcoming Exhibition- Beneath the Tranquility

The Julie M. Gallery is pleased to host Beneath the Tranquility as part of the Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. Beneath the Tranquility features the works of two prominent Israeli photographers, Deganit Berest and Shai Kremer.

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Deganit Berest spearheaded a generation of Israeli artists whose work would come to shape the art scene of their country. Working in a former diamond-cutting factory, her choice of studio reflects the pursuit of a faceted, pixilated ideal within her paintings and photographs, which are characterized by liminality, stillness and stasis.  Using the trope of the ubiquitous pixel, Berest confronts the schism between today’s reality and its parallel, the digital world.

From the initial stage of image taking, Berest further develops the photos with the aid of a computer, to create images constructed of a grid of large scale pixels. Berest is interested in reaching a threshold where the viewer might oscillate between seeing the work as ‘meaningless’ geometric abstract shapes on the surface, but then, suddenly, might experience recognition that these seemingly random stacks of cubes become a specific image.

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Shai Kremer’s celebrated World Trade Center Concrete Abstracts (WTC) are created through a massive layering of numerous images of the World Trade Center site during reconstruction. WTC hones in on the epicenter of the destruction carrying forward to the rebuilding of one of New York’s iconic sites.

By documenting the process of reconstruction at the site of the 9/11 attacks, Kremer encapsulates his interest in photography’s ability to function as both an historic archive and mediator of highly politicized visual information.  Taken over the course of many months of continuous shooting, the images evolve and devolve. In the process, there appears to be a serene calm in a world of chaotic images.

Susan G. Scott – The Waters of March

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In the spirit of spring, The Julie M. Gallery is pleased to present The Waters of March, Susan G. Scott’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. The Waters of March is an extended meditation on the natural world that wonderfully captures the cool illumination of early spring. Scott’s abstract landscapes deftly utilize rhythm, a vibrant palate, and loose composition, guiding the viewer through a lyrical world of light and colour.

1_14T6-7-8Throughout Scott’s career she has maintained a practice of working from nature for a period of time each year, for as she explains, “the work I create outdoors is an escape from my urban existence as well as a way to refresh specific mark making that results from painting from direct observation.” All of the works that appear in The Waters of March portray aspects of a tiny stream outside Scott’s country studio. Over the course of seven years, Scott revisited this scene, allowing it to take on monumental proportions.

IMG_1552In Fallen, we see the early stages of Scott’s exploration of abstract landscapes, which reflect a pervasive nostalgia for a disappearing and mysterious natural world. Scott’s landscapes bring us back to the nature of our childhood, full of both innocence and wonder, and shadows and lurking danger. The felled branches that appear in many of the landscapes epitomizes this as both a symbol of destruction and a way forward, a path across a river. The figures in the painting provide a link between Scott’s earlier work that is defined by explorations of the human figure and her increasingly abstract terraskin landscapes. Scott’s voice as an artist is defined both by the tenets of abstraction, an enduring love for the craft, and compositional acumen of the old masters.

nimageThe majority of the show is comprised of Scott’s most recent series, the Waters of Light and the Waters of Half Light, which sees Scott abandon the emphasis on human figures for an exploration of space and light. Scott’s painterly landscapes are infused with the bright and cool sun of March, a visual testament to Pierre Bonnard’s suggestion that, “there is always colour, it has yet to become light.” The contrast of warm and cool shades creates the effect of intense light, anchored by the white background, achieving both flat and spatial elements. Through Scott’s gestural application, the vivid hues move and shift across the remarkable lightness of the canvas. While grounded in abstraction, Scott’s canvasses maintain a narrative quality, moving beyond the recreation of a specific moment in time to convey a living, breathing natural world constantly in flux.

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Influenced by Chinese and Japanese landscape painting, Scott’s paintings abandon traditional perspective, rather choosing to situate the viewer directly within the landscape. The exclusion of the horizon line changes the engagement of the viewer to the work; as Scott explains, “instead of situating oneself in the unknown or in a very certain perspectival space, one is situating the body in a much more direct presence.” The remarkable nearness of Scott’s paintings creates a sense of being ‘in’ and traveling through the landscape, establishing a rare immediacy of feeling. Scott’s lyrical meditation on the natural world is dynamic and alive, placing her among Canada’s best landscape painters.

IMG_1656Susan G. Scott was born in Montreal, Quebec and studied painting at the Pratt Institute in New York City. She attended fine art schools in Boston, Maine, Montreal, and the New York Studio School of Drawing and Painting. She has since taught in various schools throughout North America and currently teaches at Concordia University in Montreal. Scott’s voice as an artist is defined both by the tenets of abstraction which provided her early foundation as a painter, and an enduring love for the craft and compositional acumen of the old masters.