Exhibition Dates: May 12 - June 5. Opening & Featured Performance: Thurs, May 12, 6-8:30pm
“I am interested, not in the conclusion, but in a half told story.” – Nava Waxman
The deep royal purple and black tendrils of a painted foliate form sweep across the white surface of artist Nava Waxman’s studio wall. The painting is exquisite, beautiful, a work of art. The artist places a chair in front of the wall. She places a heavy piece of pink Himalayan salt in front of it. Waxman performs in front of the wall, moving her body in a dance that expresses the ideas she is processing through her art. She captures her performance and her painting through video and photography. And then she paints over the wall
This is the fleeting reality of the series of works making their premier this month in the exhibition Untitled Wall , May 12 – June 5, at Ottawa’s WALL SPACE Gallery (358 Richmond Rd.). Large scale photographs by Waxman capture and present the artist’s ephemeral in-studio wall paintings and performances, acting as the only tangible result of these laborious works. The series is the product of three years of philosophical inquiry. Waxman has leapt into the void separating the permanent and the ephemeral – questioning what art is and what it can be, with poignantly beautiful results.
In the artist’s words:
I am interested, not in the conclusion, but in a half told story. I explore the distinction of “Painting” vs “Painted”.
In this body of work, I address and question the traditional method of painting and to think about the process itself; detaching my actions from the last stage of the work, the physicality of the object-painting.
I began the documentation of my process at the very beginning of this series. Using photography and high resolution video to analyze the process as it unfolds, I began to truly discover and engage with this work in many new and exciting ways. Through these media it was possible to capture this creation, in itself, as the art, and to celebrate the process.
A long time resident of North York, Waxman was born in Israel, where she received her BA in social science and communication from the University of Tel-Aviv . Layers of philosophy and the subtleties of language underpin her work. The many meanings Waxman hopes to evoke through her art are always in harmony with the visual forms she creates, however, rather than forcefully overlaid afterthoughts. Waxman's artistic practice as a whole is characterized by flowing and sinuous lines, and references to the human form. Time and space are also important features in her recent explorations of repetition, identity, and the ability of the body to convey ideas through movement. As she has developed performances an photographic works, employing gestures of the body more directly, in her paintings overt references to the body found in earlier works have fallen away in favour of abstraction.
In addition to photography, painting, and video content, Untitled Wall will feature a site-specific installation and performance. Waxman will paint one of the gallery walls during preparations for the exhibition. This painting will be completed with a live performance by the artist during the 6pm exhibition opening on Thursday, May 12th. We anticipate an event unique to the Ottawa arts scene, and not to be missed.
At the conclusion of the exhibition this untitled wall will once again be painted over, leaving us to consider impermanence and the nature of art.
- Natalie Rathwell, MA
Curator, Untitled Wall
IN DEPTH LOOK - A Fuller Description of Waxman's Series
Waxman’s is an organic and visceral practice utilizing metaphors and allegories. Through these she constructs her performances and her ongoing research on how to capture expressive events that are comprised of various elements such as painting, objects, space and gesture. Her work does not involve obvious self- representation and beyond her perspective as the creator and physical presence in the process, she does not consider her oeuvre as completely autobiographical.
Waxman’s aesthetics are referential, and through the use of traditional media in combination with new ones she transforms her ideas into a ritualistic theatre. She conserves in her editing process a continuum between things past and gone, and things yet to come. …
The transitory nature and duration of the artworks coincides with Waxman’s evolution as a visual artist…Capturing the random, the magical, the thoughts and the feelings, made this wholeness tangible. In a way it is a struggle; Painting versus Painted.
These works assemble and epitomize this ever changing act of looking. Most importantly, her solitary monologues, which have only ever taken place in the privacy and isolation of her studio, are now accessible to the viewer. This exhibition marks the public nature and premiere of these series.
According to Nava, Life is an accumulative formation. The Untitled Wall stands as a monument of Now,where time, space and feelings are interconnected. The way we perceive the momentum or the future is eminently affixed to our retention of the past. … In this modern era when everything has existed in the past, images are disposable and the meanings misinterpreted, Nava Waxman’s endeavor is to question these circumstances and reconstruct the [ definition of ] Vision.
- Artist Statement [Excerpts]
Updated 3:01pm, May 7th