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Maya Bloch, Waiting Room

Thierry Goldberg Projects
5 Rivington Street, 212-967-2260
East Village / Lower East Side
June 4 - July 18, 2010
Reception: Friday, June 4, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Thierry Goldberg Projects is pleased to present Waiting Room, the first New York solo exhibition of Maya Bloch. The exhibition will include seven new paintings that examine themes of estrangement and memory through abstracted figuration.

Bloch depicts subjects that are, in her words, “passive,” in an “intermediate status—a state of waiting.” This is apparent in Untitled (Eight Figures at Table) where figures are seated together, staring directly at the viewer. Shape and line engage tensely, so that, like a lens that is adjusting and readjusting, figures move in and out of focus. Recalling the disquieting faces of the german expressionists, a feeling of dislocation is highlighted by the fact that while the subjects lean towards figuration, they are at odds with a geometrically abstract background. Not even the supposed table, typically a placeholder of domestic settings, is recognizable enough to home these individuals. The eyes, however, retain a haunting clarity, and their gaze outwards shifts the focus from the subjects themselves to the onlooker. “They see you,” says Bloch, and seem to be waiting for something, “perhaps a reaction from the viewer.”

In Unititled (Child in Red Swimsuit), a child reclines, pressed up into the foreground of the canvas, both upfront and elusively sexualized. The mouth is covered by a spill of paint, while the eyes mesmerize and admonish. Calling to mind Cezanne’s “The Bather,” this portrait toys with figuration and abstraction, so that lines move from bold emphasis to vague shiftiness. Often what seems more definitive, not just in terms of line, but also in regards to color, like the red of the swimsuit, tends to dissolve into inconclusive grays, swashes and drips. The play between abstraction and representation here becomes a metaphor for the psychological—line and color become characters themselves, where elements are reduced to undecidability and vulnerability, insisting on identification as fraught.

Using found images in her paintings, Bloch’s subjects are taken out of context not just in a literal sense, but also in the way in which, as the images are transferred onto the canvas, they undergo a “ghosting” process, stripped of identifiable information. And so, while the paintings perform the work of seeing and memory, they also indicate the gaps and inconsistencies inherent in those very activities. Though the work moves towards reconciliation and reintegration, the figures remain indeterminate, exacted on by the chance, by the artist’s decisions, whims, and even the mistakes she makes in the process of completion. In the end, Bloch’s own steadfast gaze will neither submit to naive optimism or blind despair, intent on revealing images in all their complexity and ambiguity.

Maya Bloch was born in Be’er Sheva, Israel in 1978, and currently lives and works in Tel Aviv. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. from Tel Aviv University, and has had solo exhibitions at the Haifa Museum of Art and at Tavi Dresdner Gallery in Tel Aviv. Her work was also included in group exhibitions at ST-ART residence; The Nechushtan Complex; Golconda Gallery; P8 Gallery; and Tavi Dresdner Gallery; all in Tel Aviv, Israel.
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