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Artist Statement

My art explores the duality of construction and destruction, memory and oblivion. I create a representational image that is gradually “ruined” – covered by a chaotic image through “accidental” gestures. Throughout the work process I rebuild and destroy and so forth, emphasizing the conflict between the presence of a mimetic image and the course of coincidence that takes charge. This gesture is equivalent to a natural process of erosion through the passage of time.

My preferable subject matter is the portraits of women. They may fit into the modern definition of beauty and sex appeal. They also resemble classic portraits and ancient icons, but are inspired by fashion models, which are today’s cultural icons as well as sexual objects. This way I create a kind of fetish, which fulfills a role such as that of a religious icon.

The figures are imaginary, not of existing people. These are attempts to capture the essence of portraits rather than the image of a specific person, and therefore I relate to them as memories of portraits. They might evoke the memory of ancient art and culture, not only because of their resemblance to ancient icons but mainly because their image is destroyed and “forgotten” through the process of creation and wreckage. Yet they seem very contemporary.

Naturally, the imagery of icons and memory are mostly related to death. In my paintings, death appears in its duality: the termination of physical existence with the aspiration for transcendental essence. Another aspect of death is revealed by the grief over fading beauty and youth.

Shimrit Yariv

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