VERED GERSZTENKORN : without portfolio

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I’m certainly not going to pretend to be someone I’m not.”

v.g.

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other than belief

without definition or allegiance

self-taught

beyond portfolio

…her work exists carved out of imaginary space; of distance, observation and depth of experience layered upon the “what it is” of simply being, like a tattoo upon the skin of the soul drummed into being and can’t be drowned out.

“I consider ART as my home land or nationality, as well as my ‘religion’ “

There is a canvas crowded with comical creatures full of humor and lust, of vacant eyed-stares seeing outside and through the cloth; the paint covering the holes and gaps not covered by philosophy or art-world practice; a Boschian prelude to judgement and moral speculation as ambiguous and frustrating in its ruinous innocence that threatens to betray by simply being other than what it appears to be (how can judgement be innocent and who can say that that is what is being judged at all ?) as it is final: the paint, the gesture, the hand is permanent and the canvas is forever stained.

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A presumption about the value and accuracy of looking, of seeing but not perceiving, is central to the aesthetic of Gersztenkorn; it is part of her fun and dilemma, I think. Her canvas is full of the drama of dreams and is equally inconclusive in its non-linear depiction of mock horror, sly winks, slippery shadowy segues and transitions of half-drawn creatures full of secrets weighed equally across the board, the length of the canvas, the length of an interrupted dream that defies interpretation.

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“I always feel that apart from the fact that I was born in Israel, nothing really attaches me to this place, and I believe that my paintings reflect this also.”              Image

She lets you in and leaves you flat; her work is an extension of self in a way that expresses a fullness of being sometimes awful and surprising to that very self; is beyond her control or direction and she neither wishes to direct or control it. There is not a meanness of spirit to her process; she is as surprised or stranded in this landscape as any viewer or fellow traveler, which may be the point.

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Phenomenology informs her work as does chance and a sort of unconscious bringing to the surface of dream imagery (perhaps) in luscious blinding colors or muted hushed tones ; her “abstract work” is deceptively simple both in tone and harmony of the shapes as well as the mutuality of the color: earth tones grounded in loose grids; seemingly haphazardly attached canvas-to-canvas fragments in the midst of language shards full of disjointed sentiment and off-putting grinning demons or farm animals drawn child-like yet ominous; standing just out of reach of reason and accountability. The non-figurative abstractions expand upon the emotional field and feeling of her figurative work, flattening, then condensing into a concentrate a germ of experience either joyous or understated.

It is all of a kind.

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That fractured space, implied but not fully defined is the magic and attraction of Gersztenkorn’s work; a lopsided hint, a suggestion that continues long after the work is viewed; a secret that leaves an unsettling feeling of both familiarity tinged with foreignness; the familiar with the never seen nor felt; a prickly yet beautiful poisonous sea sponge inviting and deadly and all the more appealing for that.

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It is not what she whispers. but that she whispers at all.

Hers are the resolution of implications.

Implication is fullness.

There is no further place to go.

DIARY:

BIRTHDAY PARTY / UNDERPANTS / GIRL-WOMAN / MUSTACHE / HEBREW HAT / READING A BOOK / DOG-PIG-BLACK CAT / SMILE STARE GRIN:

CANVAS.

What resides in memory remains there permanently, covered, concealed and self-contained. That which is recalled at will is full of fault; memory is furtive forever and champions imperfection as its core, hiding more perfectly when it is purposely sought and reveals itself in dreams and a sort of trance-forgetting in a process indifferent to our perceived needs to corral and define experience.

Vered leaves all factoring to chance.

USEFUL TIPS WHILE VIEWING VERED GERSZTENKORN’S PAINTINGS:

Access is limited; entry defined by codes whose ability to be decyphered may change without prior notice even under direct observation.

Pay strict attention, then forget about it.   
While there are obvious influences in the work of Vered Gersztenkorn ( so-called “naive” or non-academic traditions, folk art, “primitive”painting, the free uncluttered visual announcements that deliver a child-like quality of a Dubuffet or a Basquiat as well as the rural southern American tradition rooted in Afro-American culture) her production is both highly personal but also respectful of these antecedents, is not imitative but resonates authenticity, sometimes lacking in activity that draws from similar sources in the works of her contemporaries.

Interestingly, Gersztenkorn appreciates the work of an artist she has only discovered in the past year or so whose work, at first encounter certainly echoes her own:   Hannelore Baron.

 

Vered Gesztenkorn on Hannelore Baron :

Her work speaks to me because it’s intimate and fragile but also transmits strength, I like this tow contrasts or oppositions.
Also the way that she uses/combines collages with painting, the soft colors, the compositions…seems all perfect and in harmony to me, she creates a whole world on a little piece of paper, and that’s magical to me.”

800px-Hannelore_Baron_in_Studiohannelore baron:

HANNELORE BARON circa 1980hannelore baron:

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Hers are the formal structures of awareness and her work offers an alphabet (more soup) of these building blocks: very personal and pure having been dredged up from their dwelling places in her other consciousness: the imprint of hope and desire; humor and dread; softness and elusiveness; insistence and sorrow.

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HEYWARD:  

What informs your work?

 
GERSZTENKORN: 
Anything that catches my eyes… a peeling old wall, my studio , a messy table, a piece of dirty cloth, old letters/papers… and of course other peoples art… my impulses/instincts are always visual, never intellectual.
 
VERED SELF 2
                                                                                             vered gersztenkorn
H:
Describe your working process:
G:
I believe that in my  work as in my life, there is similarity concerning spontaneity and “non planning”. I tend to flow with what there is rather then to mark a target and try reaching it.
The feeling is: when I do the right thing at the right time, I’m on the right track. The process of things in life/art is what’s important to me.
 
H:

Please speak about working/living in a certain sort of isolation; how does that affect you/the work ?

G:

Isolation is the result of being the introverted person that I am. It has both positive and negative sides…

Isolation allows me to concentrate on things that are most important to me, without being disturbed or distracted by the “outside world”, for sure this has a direct influence on my art, in a way that I feel that my mind is being explored endlessly.
The negative side of it is that I don’t have enough interaction with people;  though there’s a lot of art exposure and activity in Israel, mainly in Tel-Aviv of course… I live in a small village (nothing interesting happens here…), but 40 minutes away it’s another story….I would say, it’s a wonder that with my attitude, my work was somehow noticed.
 
VERED ABSTRACT ARTICLE 2
VERED ABSTRACT ARTICLE 3
H:
Are you attached to or respectful  of the metaphysical or phenomenological, if not  the “magical” presence  in art practice ?
G:
Yes, I do think art making has a  spiritual/psychological/magical aspect. Spiritual;  while creating, you sometimes get the feeling of just being a tool or a channel, that  through it comes the “magic”. Psychological—I don’t refer to it at all when working, it’s only after that sometimes I realize the psychological aspect of the work, or somebody else might discover a meaning I wasn’t aware of.
 
  VERED FIGURATIVE ARTICLE 1
VERED FIGURATIVE ARTICLE 2 ADD

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I think she’d rather be alone.

…and now is probably laughing

Carl Heyward
san francisco
November 2013

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