Matthew Bourbon writes in ArtForum that Yigal Ozeri’s paintings of young girls may be problematic conceptually, but they’re somewhat redeemed by his sensitive paint handling. “Taking a page from Carl Jung’s theories on the feminine ‘anima,’ [fond memories of Prof. Bill Parker and grad school just came flooding back –Ed.] Yigal Ozeri approaches realism as a means to project his own thoughts into the interior lives of several young women. In a recent interview, he stated that he befriended the women depicted in his works because they live off the grid, and his fascination with the substance of their lives enticed him to portray a ‘new generation.’
“As problematic as Ozeri’s psychological transposition into the minds of his subjects may seem, the technical prowess in his intricate paintings occasionally mitigates the overt conceptual faults of his project. Still, from a distance, Ozeri’s works on paper appear too familiar. They mimic the look of soft-core porn images of female nudes gallivanting through nature, as well as Justine Kurland’s earnest photographs of young girls as bathers, first seen in the 1999 group show ‘Another Girl, Another Planet.’ While Kurland’s images posit a slightly Arcadian freedom from the travails of maturing from girlhood to womanhood, Ozeri’s paintings feel closer to the model-as-muse paradigm, where obsession with a young, albeit atypical, female is portrayed for consumption.
“If one is able to temporarily forgive the failures of Ozeri’s subject, close examination of his paintings reveal sensitive and sometimes beautiful renderings of light effects and physical surfaces. Still, the Andrew Wyeth–like references, as well as the digital sources Ozeri manipulates to create his art, ultimately undercut the sense of knowing these women. The artist’s attachment to a photographic notion of ‘reality’ does not make his subjects more particular, just more anonymous.”
“Yigal Ozeri: Desire for Anima,” Mike Weiss Gallery, New York, NY. Through Oct. 24, 2009.
“Justine Kurland, This Train is Bound for Glory,” Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York, NY. October 15 – November 14, 2009.