Curator: Shosh Averbukh
31 Aug — 12 October, 2013
Self-portrait has been a central theme in Naomi Gafni’s work throughout her long career as an artist. When she deals with other themes it is only to take a brief respite, recharge herself and prepare for another plunge into her inner source of inspiration: herself.
Between one series of portraits and another, Gafni cleans her studio thoroughly, a procedure that is vital, she claims, in order to purge herself of the ‘older’ way of looking at herself and initiate a new one. For Gafni, the act of self-painting is a process of inner, mystical and psychological confrontation and cleansing.
This series of works exposes a process that begins with relatively complete images, proceeds toward fractured or split ones, and culminates with totally abstract representations. In her latest and most extreme works the structure of the skull has been completely removed, leaving only a portion of stretched skin as the sole remnant of a human face. The result conjures up the image of a death-mask.
“I love to lose myself in the space between the canvas and the mirror and search for the precise distance between the two, an area that generates the kind of distortion which is inevitable in every artistic work”, she explains. This mystical distance is just possibly what lures Naomi Gafni back into drawing herself time and time again.