Adam Leef | Ortus

Gallery talk: Saturday 21.5 at 13:00 pm

Adam Leef (1989) was born in Jerusalem. As a child he moved with his family to live near the sea, what in adulthood became a central theme in his artistic practice. For the last decade Leef returns to Arsuf-Kedem beach, to work in the open landscape, embracing the light with its colors and unique characteristics. Reccurt themes in his work include the landscape, portraits, the relationship between the painter, his studio and the landscape, bathers and Greek mythology influences.

The chosen name for the current exhibition is “Ortus”. In Latin that words has many meanings: sunrise, rise of the sun or a star, est, beginning. The sun is represented as a circle recreated in different variants in many of his works . The bright light and the transparent lightness dominate the exhibition, as well as the concept of East. Leef holds a close relationship to Greek and Aegean culture. He sees himself as a partner and geographical ally to that culture- the strong Mediterranean light we share and closeness to the sea. It is a culture of light and sea, water, ships and waves.

In the exhibition are paintings, sketches and collages, made with a light minimalist palette. Shades o gentle blue, turquoise and white of the large scaled canvases. the colores have a transparent lightness feel to them. the space of the works opens up, while our eyes adjust to the brightness reflecting off them. A bodily experience shared with the viewers standing in front of the vastness of the sea.

Leef’s study of the sea is compromised of the connection between the sky and the sea, Mideterraninn colors, movement and stability, spacial illusions, brightness, colorful harmony, the dynamics and movement between a brushstroke and patches of paint. He finds all this in the horizon, at the meeting point of the sky with the sea. The Bathers paintings are influenced by Cezanne and Picasso, painted with a limited palette, lightly sketched, with a dynamic between distant and near, the figures and background, waves and horizons.

At the center of the exhibition is a large scale paniramic painting, made ouf of three parts. It shows bathing figures on the sea shore in transparent lines and hinted contours. The viewer must watch closely to see the fullness of the painting, as the lines dissolve into the bright background. Next to the large paintings are smaller oil paintings and framed collages made out of layered paper. The exhibition induces a peaceful calmness with its feeling of air and weightlessness.

Dr. Ziva Jelin

More images from the exhibition