Rubik’s Cube is an exhibition of paintings by Rotem Amizur using the techniques of collage and acrylic paint. The works are mostly from the past year, a body of work representing an entire cluster of Amizur’s areas of interest and research. Her studio practice involves turning to various sources to explore her painterly worldview. Amizur’s collage technique is unique, taken directly from oil painting and direct observation of masterpieces, from the Italian Renaissance through Vermeer.
Soon after the artist moved to Haifa in 2014, she was looking at an old photograph of Georges Braque standing at his easel. On the easel was a work in progress. Underneath the painting were seven jars, each with a pre-mixed oil paint. Her understanding that Braque prepared his colors in advance, mixing them to balance their relationships and thus creating a limited, clear framework of their harmonic color relations, led her to thoughts on a new way of working.
In practice, Braque prepared his own tools, creating predetermined “rules of the game.” Amizur began to formulate the rules of her own game, and developed the collage technique she currently employs. The papers which are painted in advance refer only to the pleasure in the color itself, “like sweets in a candy shop.”
Amizur noticed that the painters of the past used transparent layers of paint in opposite color temperatures, and so she, too, paints each paper with two layers of paint – one warm and the other cool, resulting in a complex, airy color. The stage of painting the papers can often take several weeks.
In her painterly game, Rotem Amizur dictates to herself a limited number of papers (i.e., colors) for each work as she begins the artwork. Another rule is never to paint a new paper during the work on the piece; she must use only the pre-painted papers. This often leads to a painterly puzzle due to the lack of a certain color, forcing her to solve it during the work process. Her collage work is characterized by quick, big decisions. She exploits the playful potential of the medium, often changing the work dozens of time, thus creating multiple layers that conceal “alternate realities” underneath the surface of the work.
“It’s ‘game over’ when the painting exists without me.” This is the end-game for Amizur – time to paste everything down.
The intimate state of close observation of each and every color patch and shape is precisely when the work is ended, “like the stage of contemplating a journey, when I remember all of the adventures.”
Several of Amizur’s themes return in her work: correspondence with painters of the past, such as Piero della Francesca and Matisse; the reclining nude, in the context of references to Titian, Frank Auerbach and many others; deep engagement in what may be called musical variations on a theme, such as her series of English landscapes.
The current exhibition enables viewers what is almost direct access to the artist’s studio: her themes, her unceasing correspondence with masters of the past, visitors to the studio, the family on vacation, places she travels to, and the models with whom she works. Evident In all of these subjects is the child-like enjoyment, surprise, and astonishment at what the world has to offer to a painter.