Ancient Anecdotes

Dorit Saphir’s paintings are loaded with thoroughly notable emotion and narrative, both in her works on paper coupled on plywood and in her works of oil on cloth. Dorit Saphir worked in the past as a cinema director and script writer, and these days she provides us also through painting a complete and stormy drama, which expresses itself in color and in abstract images that hint at a plot. Her sources of inspiration stem from prehistoric cave drawings and symbolize ancient archetypes. Thus, she develops an unmistakable language of her own, in which she seeks to hint at a reality that is concealed beyond the visible: myths, mythology, a right-of-passage ceremony, a hunting expedition, a ritualistic camp-fire – various anecdotes from a wild and primitive ancient era. The full narrative is left to the imagination of the viewer.

Mythical figures that bear a symbolic meaning, that exist in a state of motion and conflict, are presented in the paintings alongside figures that emerge from the abstract and the chaotic. The mythological story is offered on occasion as the end of a string, as the beginning of a journey, and occasionally as a painting that commences in an obfuscated manner, and gradually, slowly, the figures within it become defined. Yet even the defined figure can change – it can metamorphose in shape and color, divide itself into a number of figures or into a hybrid figure with many faces. Throughout the entire work process, a struggle takes place between the animals and the figures. They develop, undress and dress themselves in various shapes, and by the end of the process one cannot decipher who has the upper hand, who is the hunter and who is being hunted.

In the density of the stains and the airiness that lies between them one can sense the energy that has accumulated in the painting process, loaded with a storm of emotions. An aura of mystery encompasses the painting, and concentration and condensation are distilled. The connections between the images roam like an irrational spell. Through the throwing of color onto cloth with a mortar tool, and by sprinkling stains of color – incidental or not – the images are formed as the result of the connection between stains. These stains thoroughly express the artist’s struggle with the cloth, which results in a stormy and expressive creation.

Nurit Tal-Tenne, Exhibition Curator