As an artist who immigrated to Boston from Israel more than ten years ago, it was not easy for me to connect to the local landscape. In my work throughout most of these years I focused on subjects like maps and satellite images, using media like video or drawing, and I avoided painting almost entirely. Painting is the most intimate medium for me and to express myself in painting I needed an “access code,” a point of entry to the landscape around me so I could make it my own. That entry point was the evergreen tree. These trees, which once dominated the landscapes of paintings I created in Israel, are the most common trees in Jerusalem, where I lived most of my life. In the current series I started drawing and painting evergreen trees where I live now (Boston), slowly drifting to other local trees (oak and maple) and gradually adding some architectural elements (lamp posts, edges of buildings). Nevertheless, I still use imagery from Israel alongside the local images, as if mixing the yearning of my past with the longing to be part of the present.
There are two reasons for my choice to paint in dark tones. The optical reason is that I focused on a specific time of day, around sunset, when anything in front of the sun appears as a black silhouette (this optical phenomenon is even more intense in the photographs that are the source material for these works). But there is also a psychological reason that has its roots in my Israeli past. The political situation in Israel makes it very hard for an artist to see only the beauty in the landscape. Everything is charged with history and current events that “paint” the scene in darker tones. Thus my work encapsulates this inability to look at beautiful scenery and accept its offering. They say that the sea reflects the sky, but where I come from, red skies at the end of the day are forever a reflection of the blood that continues to be shed on the ground.