The joint exhibition of Shai Azoulay and Jonathan Gold, curated by Karmit Galili, is a game of contrasts in which the aesthetic process of one addresses that of his counterpart. The artistic approach faces its equivalent, the process intensifies in the face of its equal.
The series of works by Azoulay revolves around imaginary scenarios taking place in feasible yet not distinctly recognizable surroundings. By contrast, the works by Gold portray possible scenarios in purposely undefined, vague surroundings.
Gold paints quickly. His is a breathless game, leaving no room for regret nor change. Azoulay paints at a different pace, leaving and returning, adding a layer and erasing another. The painting evolves through deletion and retraction.
Each artist has his own vocabulary of images and recurring motifs that construct his personal language and world. The meeting of both worlds in the exhibition reinforces each individual aesthetic language and image base. A pot by Azoulay meets a bucket by Gold; a ladder by Gold meets a tree by Azoulay.
Both place the human in the heart of the painting, however the point of departure from which each creates is disparate. Azoulay paintings begin at the moment of disruption. He depicts these disruptive elements as they recreate the logic in a pre-existing structure, while simultaneously depicting the structure as it persists within the framework of the renewed logic. Gold paints in an effort to unveil the situation, to understand the structure, the relationship between his figures, and his interaction with these figures. What lies between them? What narrative occurs within the painting? What is happening in the world? These questions and their answers are revealed as the painting progresses.
The figures in Azoulay’s paintings are part of a community, a group. They both belong to and are associated with this community. They are bound together by a thread or by an idea ; together they proceed in a certain direction or toward a mutual goal. Even a person sailing in isolation amidst an aquarium- he too is part of a continuous dialogue. Every object may become home, a vessel: a jug, a bowl, or an aquarium. An imaginary home is a viable possibility. Gold’s figures, whether one or more, are forever alone. Two men climb the same staircase, share the same painterly surface, jointly bear the burden, carry the same weight, yet each to himself. Each is destined to his own path even as they stand shoulder to shoulder.
Gold’s works are untitled as the artist refuses to distract the viewer from the visual aspect of the painting nor to provide him with any guidance for interpretation. In contrast, the dynamic titles in Azoulay’s work - such as “Life” and “Relationship”, act as another active layer of the painting, Together, they bring to mind questions about the possibilities of faith and of controlling reality. The connection between the two series reminds the viewer that the directions of the human spirit are vast. Some seek solidarity while others have given up.