A Group Show at Litvak Contemporary Compares Dark Matter to the Creative Process
Though Tel Aviv is often awash in the almost palpable light of the Mediterranean sun, the organizers of “Dark Matter,” a group show currently on view at Litvak Contemporary, have unseen, darker forces in mind. Featuring the work of six artist from Israel and abroad—including Elad Kopler, Robert Melee, Ted Pim, Gabriel J. Shuldiner, Jack R. Slentz, and Cullen Washington Jr.—the show is focused on the intangible energies that drive both the workings of the universe and the creative process itself.
The logic driving this grouping of disparate artists is based on what the gallery posits as a parity between the dark matter of the universe—an invisible part of its overall composition, which affects our surroundings in ways that scientists still don’t fully understand—and the similarly invisible emotional and psychological internal forces that urge artists to make art. In the case of the six artists in this show, these mind- and body-based drives have resulted in paintings, mixed-media compositions, and works ranging from abstract to semi-figurative.
A number of brightly colored paintings by Melee punctuate the installation. In the context of this show, their all-over, polka-dotted surfaces may represent the explosions through which stars, planets, and the universe itself came into existence—think the Big Bang theory. Each dot is actually a beer bottle cap, embedded in layers of paint and plaster. Like all of Melee’s works, these paintings were generated out of what he sees as the anxiety and dysfunction of American suburbia, which might serve as the “dark matter” of his creative process.
Taking a more figurative approach to painting, Pim presents ghostly beings, partially subsumed by their inky black surroundings. Rootless and only half-realized, they could either be growing or in the process of dissipating. Rather than representations of living, breathing people, they seem to manifest the thoughts and feelings brewing inside all of us—an essential part of our own compositional makeup, like the enduringly mysterious dark matter that fills the universe.