About the Artist
Born: Tel aviv, 1951
Works and lives in Hod Hasharon.
1980 – One- artist exhibition, cultural house, Ofira (Sinai )
1982 - One-artist exhibition, Art Festival, Hod Hasharon.
1985 - One-artist exhibition, Naamat Gallery , Tel Aviv.
2000 - Tram Huis Gallery, Rotterdam, Holland.
2001 - (January) Group exhibition, Hilleluis museum, Rotterdam, Holland.
2001 - ( July) Group exhibition, Edison Gallery, Dan-Hague , Holland
2001 - (December ) Group exhibition, Edison Gallery , Dan-Hague, Holland.
2002 - ( February) Group exhibition, Edison Gallery, Dan-Hague, Holland.
2002 - ( March) One-artist exhibition, “Yad Lebanim”, Hod Hasharon.
2002 - ( June) One-artist exhibition,Baztille, Zoetermeere, Holland.
2002-2003 – (December – March) Group exhibition, Edison Gallery, Dan-Hague, Holland.
2003 – (April – May) One-artist exhibition, “Unique”, Batzra, Israel.
2004 – (November – December) One-artist exhibition, gallery “Coppa D'arte”, Tel-Aviv, Israel.
2005/06 – (December, january) One-artist exhibition, gallery “Pais”, Afula, Israel.
2006 – (April, March) One-artist exhibition, culture center “Avni”, Ein-Gedi, Israel.
2006 – (May) Israeli Salon Of Art, Tel-Aviv.
On the first encounter with the paintings of the artist Yoram Levy, the viewer will not find it very simple to categorize him under a certain traditional definition of art or style. The first glimpse in the opulence of creations brings with it an eclectic feeling caused by the various themes, opulence of colors, and different techniques There maybe an attempt to classify him as surrealist, or perhaps as an abstract artist, but what will be said of the strong realism in some of his portraits or the landscape paintings?
A person viewing Yoram’s paintings will find this and that. Simply, Yoram is a versatile artist, who can not be committed to a certain style, nor restricted to one technique, or confined to one dialogue with art.
Yoram always, loved the making of art but not necessarily paintings. For many years he was occupied with music. He played, wrote, sang, composed and appeared with different groups. The music was his first love. He swapped a gold necklace that he had received for his Bar Mitzva for a scratched record of the Beatles, even when he did not own a record player at the time. That very passion for music will change later to passion for painting. During the seventies, he was drawn, like lots of other youngsters, to the magic of the desert of Sinai. There, the colors and the soft curving lines of the landscape awakened his urge to paint, and his great attraction to the canvas and the brush. In the years 1975/6 the last group he played with fell apart and with the money he saved Yoram went and bought canvases and paints, locked himself in the small house that he built with his own hands in his parent’s yard in the village of Magdiel and started his journey into the world of painting. This journey that came to a halt for few years for other noble cause of bringing up a family combined with the making of music. Gradually the music had to make way for the painting. Most of his technical development was self made while experimenting in various styles, though during the course of time he studied principals of paintings with different teachers and artists, some of them in Holland. This study enriched his capabilities and skills in the use of colors.
The artist and surrealism
The manner in which Yoram started to paint fits the definition of Andre’ Breton to the surrealist painting: pure psychic automatism… that intends to express the true process of thought…free from the exercise of reason and from aesthetics or moral purpose. The artist painted in the most spontaneous and intuitive manner, with no prior planning and with lack of knowledge of theories of art concerning colors or techniques. He managed to transfer to the canvas his feelings, his thoughts, the presentations of his world of senses, the connection between the object and himself – the subject in an impressive way. In the seventies everybody knew the art of Salvador Dali via popular posters. The artist knew them as well. Yet his inclination to deal with his inner world did not emerge from this acquaintance but from the very process, which is in fact common to all his creation, penetrating with deep insight in the surrounding reality, processing it within and synthesizing the outside with his inner world. This process can be seen clearly in his abstract paintings. There he does not detach himself completely from the object. The object is still identifiable, though far from its original presentation. Almost in a way in which artists like Kupka used to handle abstract at the beginning. The artist, Yoram, indeed expresses his inner world, but will always remain well attached to the outside one. Thus he creates a well closed circle of the world outside that penetrates his inner being and bursts out through his colorful creations well blended this time with his inside subjective world .
This blend, this mixture is the essence of his art. From this point of view Yoram does not fit in the definition of surrealism that emphasizes the non-rationalism or the random combination of objects. In his paintings, despite their spontaneity, there exists an idea, a thought that wishes to be expressed. A good example of this is the painting “ smoker’s ballad”( his first oil painting )
Landscape and Portrait
The ability of Yoram to paint sharp realism is shown very conspicuously in his landscape and portraits. Holland that is famous in history of art for its portrait painters such as Rembrandt and Frans Hals, contributed its share in this field to the artist who studied and experimented in this form during his stay there. Coming home, he began to draw people from the close neighborhood in Hod Hasharon in a sharp realism. As Linda Nochlin , an art historian, claims in book that there can not be an absolute objective realism in art since there are many factors that are involve in the transmission of the object onto the canvas technical and personal that effect and influence the painting. And indeed the artist’s realism is not a mere reflection of the outside reality, but slightly above it, with clear hints of subjectivity, with obvious influence of the inner world, of imagination that excludes his art from traditional definitions. The picture: ”pastoralia” 1997 (oil on wood, 60X50 cm) can be related to the 19th century realism of the Barbizon school. Yet even this convincing realism, with its deep greens, sends the spectator to other places beyond realism.
The artist’s landscape is not permanent and moves between naked blazed desert views to very rich green of the Galil where he spent most of his youth ( in kibbutz Ayelet Hashachar). His landscapes also move between dichotomies of real and abstract, of inner and outer views. The different landscapes reflect the artist ability to belong to numerous places. It is not that he is rootless, but he simply can absorb and embrace them all with all their loads and burdens. Yoram Levy is definitely an Israeli artist who is strongly connected to the culture and language of his country. The picture “the same old story” 2002(acrylic on canvas, 100X120) also reveals the artist’s love to the written word that blends the artist’s poetry with his colors and lines.
The rich variety, the reluctance of commitment to a certain style, the restless creativity might suggest that the artist who was born in the fifties is the outcome of the Ben Gurion dream of the new Israeli that emerges out of the cultural mixture, out of the melting pot.
Or may be Yoram is simply an outcome of the post modern era that can belong here and there. Whatever the explanation, one can surely see that the original and unique art of Yoram is comprehensive and holds with it a variety of cultural and artistic circles.
Yoram and colors
“I love colors”, repeats the artist again and again. One may say that indeed it is the color that brought him to paint. The first experience with colors the artist recalls is when he was eight. After he had seen a film about an old painter, he then he rushed home and stretched an old cloth on a frame and started pouring out paints ( guash) . To those paints he returned when he started his journey into the world of paintings, this time using them with abundant in hues and shades .The strong, striking colors do not leave the person who watches the artist’s paintings indifferent. Even though he did not study the colors in a traditional way, the artist, very naturally, approached the paints and started using them with ease. Without the academic knowledge of the traits of colors, he makes use of them in an exciting harmony. Here too, Yoram does not limit himself at all and uses a wide range of colors and indeed any color will do for him: strong or quite, clean or mixed. Whatever are the colors, he manages to use them so that they will transfer the ideas and the atmosphere onto the canvas in a most convincing way.
During his years of creation, Yoram did not leave everything just to intuition and learnt the traditional classical techniques with Dutch painters, yet he still tends to rely on his personal intuition when he uses colors whether he handles them on the palate or lays them straight on the canvas.
Today, after numerous exhibitions, painting turned to be the artist’s main and central occupation. The painting is now an integral part of his daily life. The artist spends few months a year in Holland, to keep on developing and experiencing, to create in a different atmosphere, to expand his acquaintances with the world of art and artists. Typical to his concepts, Yoram loves to work with other artists, to co-create with them. For him, this kind of cooperation similar to the making of music which has part for each player and together the make the whole. This idea of co-production can be seen in his painting “a question of balance” (oil on canvas, 100X70 )
These days Yoram exhibits both in group and single exhibitions.
Written by: Shulamit Clark