dimanche 5 juin 2011


I’ve known Yigal Ozeri for something like four years now, and written about his work for ARTINFO on several occasions. He is a genuinely larger than life character, and one of the most voluble, most likeable characters on the New York art scene. Born in Israel in 1958, Mr Ozeri has been working here for almost twenty years now and since 2005 he has become the hugely successful painter of beautiful but somewhat disconcerting figure paintings. As well as showing in New York with his close friend Mike Weiss, he has shown recently at Galerie Dukan & Hourdequin, Marseille, France, the Alon Segev Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel, and the Byron Cohen Gallery, Kansas City, MO. He is pursued by a bevy of eager private collectors, though he is not without his detractors, who baulk either at his work’s romanticism or its sexuality.

His latest show, “Desire for Anima”, opens at the Mike Weiss Gallery on Thursday, September 10. It is made up almost entirely of large-scale oil paintings on paper (there are some preparatory drawings included, and a beguiling video piece) and last week I talked to him at the gallery while the show was being hung. We covered technical matters – as he explains here he works from photographs or video stills – discussed the issue of sexuality in his work, and touched upon the relationship of his painting to the contemporary scene. Mr Ozeri reveals himself to be an artist utterly convinced of the special importance of what he is doing and of his relationship to the history of art, and this turned out to be one of the most provocative conversations that I have ever had with an artist.

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