Inman Gallery is pleased to present Sandwalk by Gilad Efrat. This will be Efrat’s fourth solo show with Inman Gallery.
In the long view, Charles Darwin’s principle of natural selection tends towards balance, helping an organism to mesh
with its environment. Everything finds its niche. But up close, the daily work of survival feels less predictable, and
less tidy. Niches are hard won. Even Darwin’s Sandwalk, the wooded path he strolled to help him think, is only
superficially serene. At the level of plants and insects, of food and scarcity and competition, it’s an equilibrium that is
perpetually and violently renegotiated.
As an emblem of big-picture harmony built from moment-to-moment conflict, the Sandwalk makes a fitting motif for
Gilad Efrat, whose painting technique translates relatively staid source photographs into riotous gestural surfaces.
Efrat applies paint in thick layers and then scrapes or wipes back into the surface, almost overwhelming his subject
with choppy palette-knife impastos and lustrous smears. Up close the paintings are all turbulence; only with distance
does the image of the Sandwalk come into focus. Darwin’s path is an historical landmark and the birthplace of his
grand design. It’s also a living embodiment of that design, and the messy, frenetic struggle that underpins it. Efrat’s
paintings, poised at the edge of legibility but with the lingering specificity of photographs, honor the symbol as well as
the reality, and the pattern as well as the chaos.
The Sandwalk series shares the Main Gallery with paintings of tamarisk trees in Efrat’s native Negev desert. Similar
in technique and subject matter, the tamarisk paintings are wilder and more personal counterparts to Darwin’s
sanctuary. Israel is both monumentally old and dizzyingly current. And as with the Sandwalk, that combination of
antiquity and immediacy is particularly well suited to Efrat’s process. Efrat’s marks are palpably fast, and the
cumulative effect is of a gestural blur, a flickering impression. At the same time, the paintings are literal excavations,
reassembled fragments dug up from strata of paint. The images might be flying apart under their own velocity or
crumbling from old age. In either case, the weight of their historical and personal resonance is lightened with a lively
instability that pulls them out of the past and into the ever-evolving present.