Alona Harpaz’ seductive surfaces negotiate the rift between figural and abstract through implied, dramatic shifts of scale. Like fractals revealing the intricately repetitive structures of organic forms, the compositions unify portraiture and ornamentation by fluidly transitioning between micro and macro views. As Christoph Tannert writes, “this kind of painting … lets the cosmic particles around the figures gleam in psychedelic colors that sound like inwardness with no minor key.”
Thin veneers of spray paint work in tension with thickly impastoed surfaces, suggesting the sumptuous ether which Harpaz’s familiar yet alien characters inhabit. Contour lines echo the intimate composition of the snapshot. Melancholy-glam characters are captured at play, on a motorcycle or at the vanity, the specificity of their gaze confounded by dabs of color. In both abstract and representational works, the play between figure and ground is heightened by solid articulations of color and shape and jarring contrasts of depth and flatness. Taken as a group, the works generate a dialogue that deftly integrates painterly gestures and the gilt-edged worlds of fashion and fantasy.
Alona Harpaz was born in Israel and lives and works in Berlin. Solo exhibitions include Delight, her 2006 US solo debut at Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv and Alesandro de March Gallery, Milan. She is the recipient of the 2002 Barkan Foundation Grant for Young Israeli Artists. Following her studies at The Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem, she studied at the ICP in New York from 1993 to 1995. This is her second solo exhibition at the gallery.