| Withdrawal and Release
The paintings of Meital Polachek invite us to join her personal journey from the precise and accurate to the abstract, from withdrawal to release, from defining and setting limits to visual forms to expressions of freedom.
The exact forms that characterize her early works were conceived not from a physical, realistic ground, but rather from Meital’s conceptual, emotional and personal being. Nevertheless, these early closed, withdrawn images, presented against an almost graphic background prefigures later stages of Meital’s creative journey.
According to Ernst Gombrich, the famous art historian, no period in the history of Art begins or ends in an exact time or place. The same is true where artistic creation is concerned – it grows and ripens with the changing modes of life. Thus Meital’s work leads us through different moods and emotions, mobility and immobility, affinity and remoteness, glimpses of thoughts about the obvious and about the unknown, and above all – a permanent search of that miraculous harmonious balance between form and expression, line and color, the whole and its parts, the spontaneous and the controlled, composition and technique.
Although without captions, we can clearly recognize different thematic groups among the paintings. Sewing elements, for example, reminiscences of the creative occupation of Meital’s mother, are constant visitors in her early work. When integrated in a painting they take the form of a patch, a towel or a shawl or remains in the crude form of fibers. For Meital, sewing threads and needles are of great significance not only as part of a warm creative past, but as a living, aching proof of adolescence, of present reality and personal feelings that can’t be ignored.
It seems that when these tangible materials spring through the abstract, fantastic forms, they unite two modes of existence that serve as a secure anchor to which Meital turns time and again. Meital’s landscape paintings present a quite different state of mind. Endless vastness of blues and whites, and always a very present black; a stormy wind and a dreamlike peace; a continuous horizon; lucidity and colorful globules; rare hints of an abandoned ship, urban forms or human figures; addictive nature by which the viewer is being led to the unknown. It seems Meital is drawn to the unknown: “I begin a new painting impulsively, without any preliminary plan or drawing and often am surprised by the result. I usually start with black acrylic, spread layers of color, erase, glue, free my hand, and only then stop to understand where the painting takes me…”
It seems that Meital’s journey reaches a creative peak (but not an end…) with a large group of paintings that cannot be defined or affiliated to a specific subject. They tell their story in a very personal way, often playing hide-and-seek with the viewer. Although they converse with previous imagery, they bear a different visual syntax. Here exact geometrical forms, ladders or stitches are just side-characters in an impressive display of unrestricted openness and freedom.
Nevertheless, these paintings share a visual device – intensive, strong strokes of black. “I like the black and feel very comfortable with it,” says Meital. It is, indeed, no wonder that visiting Franz Kline’s (1910-1962) exhibition at the MOMA she felt very close to his abstract expressionist paintings. Kline’s massive “action paintings” leave their physical footprints on the canvas or paper. The same is true for Meital’s paintings.
Dr. Sara Lutan-Hassner | Art Historian
2010 - Current
Ceramics and Potter's Wheel workshop, Israel
2017 - 2021
Master Class of Bruria Hassner
Guided by Prof. Tsibi Geva
Sharet Gallery –Givataim | Curator: Bruria Hassner
Tova Osman art Gallery –Tel aviv | With the printmaker Hava Zilberstein | Curator: Tova Osman
Matter of Color, Hanger 2, Jaffa Port
Zezeze Art Gallery, Tel aviv
Matter of Color, Hanger 2, Jaffa Port