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To Love the Inherently Small, Miniatures 1999 -2009
About the Exhibition/Art Work > 

This exhibition took place during September - October 2010 in Jerusalem at The Artists‘ House.
This is a solo exhibition of miniatures in watercolor and oil on paper and in oil on canvas. At the exhibition are shown pictures from ten years (1999-2009) of work on miniatures. Most of the miniatures were shown before at group exhibitions in Israel and abroad and their photographs are at the Miniatures gallery in this web site. Additionally, in the exhibition in the Artists‘ House one can see pictures which never were shown before and new pictures from 2009 in oil on canvas that are exhibited here for the first time.

from the exhibition‘s catalogue

The curator of the show
Small Yet Great

The paintings presented here are miniatures which one must study carefully in order to delve into their essence.  As we study the paintings closely, we find ourselves fascinated with the skill, the diversity, and the richness that are revealed over and over again in this mosaic.

All of Liat‘s paintings are infused with a lyrical quality that is present in any one of the subjects they portray: landscapes and views of Israel, sunrise, sunset, forests and trees or the four seasons. All of these take us on a journey to a magical, colorful world.

Unlike realistic painting, we cannot recognize a specific place in the view before us. This is completely unimportant in Liat Polotsky’s works. Her points of reference come from another place entirely: from the bottom of her heart, the depth of her soul and vast areas of knowledge, which penetrate so many places. Without a doubt, these project onto the viewer and carry him away to both different and similar places in his soul. Liat gives her paintings names that are seemingly descriptive, like "Jerusalem in Winter," or "Lake at Sunset".  Upon closer inspection, however, we, the viewers, are taken to another world, different and evocative. The forest suddenly becomes a scary "edge of the forest," autumn arouses a very specific mood. Words like ruins, magic, imagination or the contradiction of "living rocks" leave us with an unsettling feeling, preparing ourselves for a paradox: a storm, falling leaves, a kingdom of intriguing opposites, light flowing through many of them. While looking at the paintings we notice an unusual richness of color, unexpected depth and perspective, a feeling of transience, as though we were looking at these landscapes through vast light or mysterious fog, sometimes from great depths.

Unlike these paintings, there are others that take us to a different place. These are the realistic, precise paintings of birds. Though the birds are painted realistically, with vibrant colors, their backgrounds leave us in an unfamiliar place, a non-specified landscape, possibly originating from an inner world. Here too, the opposition of interior and exterior is apparent.

Recently the artist has added smaller paintings to her body of work, miniature and square, using oil paints on canvas. It is clear to me that in these paintings great depths were skillfully achieved, by means of color layering and brush strokes, which intimate the world being created in them. She creates a whole new world with her colors. Liat‘s greatness lies in the way she portrays such intense ideas in small sizes, successfully communicating great depth and richness.

Irit Salmon

More about the exhibition and how I come to paint the inherently small

The year I joined the Israel Miniature Art Society – 1999 – was, ironically enough, the year I started painting in oil on canvas. Up to that point, most of my paintings were done in watercolor, and the transition to oil succeeded a brief phase of computer drawings (1996). These computer drawings looked a lot like book illustrations: strong colors, smooth color surfaces, clear outlines and immediately identifiable subjects. These drawings, which were never exhibited, brought about a dramatic change in the color quality of my later works. The strong colors of the computer influenced my first oils, which were painted in saturated and shiny colors. Furthermore, since I wanted to create a clear distinction between them and my watercolors, I used thick layers of color and discontinuous brush strokes, in the Impressionist manner.

At the beginning of the millennium I focused on large oil paintings. As the pictures grew in size I resorted to using very big brushes and wide strokes forming large color surfaces covering the whole picture. As the pictures grew they also became more and more spontaneous, free and lacking in detail. Emphasis was placed on the colorful patches, spread in thin layers on the canvas, and completely devoid of the outlines characteristic of computer drawings. The hues merged into one another, faded and re-intensified, impacting on each other like the merging of translucent, delicate water-color layers. The broad brush-strokes on a large canvas were more effective in expressing a stormy nature, both physical and mental, than the watercolors that preceded them. This also influenced the choice of subjects, most of which originated from my emotions and imagination. Even though these paintings were done under the influence of landscapes, their connection to reality was indirect and sometimes unclear. Most of them looked on first sight completely abstract; although they soon offered a wide entry point for the spectator’s imagination. I devoted myself to these paintings primarily because they offered an immediate, intuitive expression of my inner turmoil and intimate feelings.

The miniatures I painted at this time enabled me to go on using watercolors, but on a very small scale. Even though the miniatures seemed to be a continuation of the preceding watercolors they were different from them, and not only in size. For example, in the exhibition “Small, Smaller and Large” (1987), I presented many small paintings, some of them bordering on miniatures, but they were totally different from the miniatures I was to display twelve years later. These early pictures looked like tiny cut-out sections of a landscape, as if I had discovered all of a sudden an interesting part of a landscape and cut it off at some point. The main reason for this impression was that many of these works were not originally painted as small pictures, but were rather segments cut out of larger paintings. Some of them looked semi-abstract. Later on (1989, 1992), I presented large watercolors drawn from an observation of nature. Even though they were drawn in nature and were supposed to portray realistic subjects (a solid piece of land, piles of debris on the seaside, ruined fenced houses, etc), they looked somewhat abstract.

My miniatures look, on the one hand, like a natural continuation of my watercolors, but in contrast to them, they could not be intuitive and free. The very first miniatures exhibition in which I took part was an international Bible exhibition (presented first in Gabriel House at Tzemach, and then in Australia and New Zealand), and the organizers stipulated Biblical texts as subject matter, as well as picture and frame size, requiring the participants to observe all the rigid rules of miniature painting. .

In the ten years that have passed since then, I have taken part in many miniature exhibitions in Israel and abroad. Most of them had a predetermined subject, obliging the miniature to maintain a relation, sometimes a very close one, to the reality it is supposed to represent. A prime example is the “Animals” exhibition in Tel Aviv, where, unlike my usual practice, I presented realistic paintings of birds. Not all my miniatures during this period were in watercolors; some were abstract landscapes drawn in oil colors on paper and closely reminiscent of my large oils. Yet one could clearly notice the difference between the large paintings where I was free to create without any restrictions, and the miniatures, fixed by rigid rules that allowed no exceptions. Like the rules of the sonnet or of the narrow and very long Japanese pillar prints, such rules pose a challenge to artists. Obeying such rigid rules gave rise to a new struggle, a process of maturing and a sense of achievement. Even a tiny 9 x 9 cm format can express one’s inner feelings.

It is probably ironic that only after nine years of doing miniatures on paper I found it possible to paint them in oil on canvas. It was a gradual process: in 2007 and 2008 I started doing square oil paintings on canvas, yielding to the dictates of the square format, and allowing myself to abandon my earlier use of large color patches in my oil paintings. At the next stage I added colored lines like those in watercolor paintings, and from there it was only a short way to miniatures in oil on canvas which contain drawn lines and a clearer relation to outside reality.

These miniatures can be found at the end of each chapter in the catalogue. They are larger than the miniatures on paper and, while in some of them I was successful in conveying the free spirit which characterized my large paintings (pp. 45, 57), others look like a combination of the watercolor and oil paintings (pp. 59, 105). One should not forget that because of the square shape and small size of all these works, my point of departure could not be as free as in the large oils. Drawing these miniatures requires the use of the delicate muscles in the palm of the hand and the use of very fine brushes. Yet this small size also requires that the work should contain identifiable details  to which one can relate.
Liat polotsky

The catalog of the exhibition "To Love the Inherently Small"
published in August 2010, Aripash Publication
ISBN 978-965-7281-09-3


the cover of the catalog



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