The one-person exhibition of works by Amir Nave (b. 1974, Israel; lives in Tel Aviv) focuses on a number of oil and graphite on canvas paintings produced over the last two years. These large works attest to his dynamic work process – expanding the format, changing his painting materials, and distilling his symbolic language. At the very start of his career, Nave’s works were characterized by an intimate scale and mainly included drawing and intense, semi-automatic inscriptions scribbled with pen, pencil and felt-tip pens on casual papers or pages from old books. His repertoire of formats has expanded gradually. In addition to his continuous work on paper, he has started to paint in thick layers of oil on canvas.
The works present a sharp, pithy image of an existential state – both internal and external – characterized by dense urgency, ceaseless self-searching, and constant oscillation between fantasy and trauma. Nave’s painting transpires in the gaps within artistic illusion, exposing the mechanism of its production and in doing so breaking it. This is a restless painting dynamic that constantly strives to define or redefine the space, always making adjustments, whose traces attest to this recurring, dissatisfied process. The male subject at the heart of Nave’s work appears recurrently as a split, distorted, flawed, at times hybrid figure. He is pushed, raised, shoved – always passively. Painting – like a ruin charged with the energy of touch, with roughness and imperfection, retaining the heat of materiality – is the last bastion against collapse in the face of outside reality.