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Gathering Time

Here “the home” directly and indirectly touches the political.  If Morag’s paintings generally presented spaces and objects from her home in the center of Tel Aviv, the source of the striped painting “Gathering My Time” is the Yediyot Acharonot photograph by photographer Saul Golan of soldiers, a moment at  rest… a moment entrenched, in a Tul Karem Palestinian residence after the murder of Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001.

Morag took the photographed image and “civilianized it”, possessing and redefining it as the private space of her home.  In this painted segment, the soldier figure appears armed with binoculars looking from the house, through the venetian blind slits, from inside out… remaining the only figure appearing in the entire exhibition.

Morag began embroidering each stroke of her brush, marking time on the striped paintings from early 2000, and has worked on them for about eight years.  Observation of her concept of home is found in her past, in a discourse with family source materials and history. In her paintings, she tries to grasp at the mundane, the simple, the functional, the documentary, and the banal… to what defines the physical space as domestic space. Her earthbound space experiences an emotional metamorphous through her works.  The work seems to capture and erase images, footprints and traces of place.  When she was a child, she found a black and white photograph in the family album… a photo from the Dachau extermination camp.   It was never spoken of and she never asked about it.  The photograph repeatedly filled her with both terror and curiosity.  To look at it she developed a way of concealing yet peaking through the fingers of her hand.  When her fingers were spread open the frightening figure would appear segmented, as if her finger coverings would dull the image has might. The striped paintings refer to this mechanism of screening what is seen and thus enabling life in the presence of harsh reality— a mechanism she acquired as a child.

Through the continuous striped painting, Morag creates a visual impediment for the viewer. This strategy defines the viewer’s observation of the work as if peeking through slits. This peeking is twofold.  First the spectator looks between and beyond the slits, and secondly the slits function as a long continuous opening to another place… a peek into a situation situated at eye level. 

.  Here paintings founded on photographs create a distancing, call to turn the snapshot into documentation, like documentarian proof, in an attempt to construct memory through painting.

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