In New Quarter, all the characters of the barrio turn out: the pimpish don, moustachioed wideboy and the scar-faced bandito/padre. The ravished tower-block ghetto is a kiddie version of Atari graphics. It’s a painting of communal harmony; a portrait of a seedy underworld eroding in Benetton colours.
Tal R's continuous use of a solid band across the bottom of his paintings gives citation to the framing of TV screens; the space above becomes an interchangeable place for action, where images can be substituted like channel surfing. In Fungusia, Tal R imports a trippy spiral of magic mushrooms. Hypnotically mesmerising, his suggestive forms and putrid colours play dizzying tricks of perspective, oozing sickly in their phallic reference.
Cousins brandishes the sculptural inherence of two dimensional painting: the colossal weight of the colour black, how little gobs of green and pink become solid objects in their own right, and lines not drawn, but made from cut and layered canvas, seem a natural extension of surface. Tal R propagates a softer, cuddlier avant-garde, where all things having achieved logo-istic equality, he resurrects the almost forgotten concept of artistic genius.
’I do painting a bit like people make a lunch box,’ Tal R explains, ’I constantly have this hot-pot boiling and I throw all kinds of material into it.’ ’Kolbojnik’, the Hebrew word for leftovers, is more than appropriate to describe his home-baked painting style: imaginary pastoral scenes based on his everyday life, rendered in guttural faux abstraction, canvases often literally collaged together like a visual goulash. Sisters of Kolbojnik, depicting an earthy gang of shaggy-haired, bell-bottomed nymphs in a magic-mushroom forest, is a celebration of overlooked wall-flower beauty, as socially inclusive as a community mural.
Tal R’s drawings of teenage bedrooms are infused with awkward embarrassment; the secure dens of iniquity, of immature fantasy, and unfulfilled lust. Crammed with overwhelming information, Tal R delights in drawing the ephemera of adolescent identity crisis: Japanese lanterns, slickly ferns, tattered bongos and head-shop posters, the trade fare of rebellious fashion. Tal R captures this child/adult inbetweeness at its most vulnerable moment: pants down, Shamotte is both funny and cringe-worthy.
Last Drawing Before Mars is a collage of supernova proportions. Bursting with the graphics of primitive special effects, Tal R makes a painting-cum-time machine. Hundreds of tiny clipped figures and consumer ephemera are conjoined in the unifying rays: a Nazi soldier to a gay porn star, a cartoon cat to a chintz lamp. People with no heads or wrong heads and others with skulls merge seamlessly with ugly furniture, sock puppets, tribal sculptures and status-symbol splendour.
Tal R's Melody is like a giant Picasso drug trip. Thematically borrowing from avant-garde assemblage drawings, Tal R swaps violins, Paris café tables and newspaper clippings for rock'n'roll guitars, anthem-coloured paint and hefty sheets of canvas. Arranged in a spiralling vortex, his collage has a folksy, hippy-trippy feel about it; a crafty flashback to the sixties. Tal R paints a communal kind of abstraction, as infinitely groovy and commercial as a Beatles box set.
Palace Imorgen is Tal R at his most minimal. His rough-crafted geometric portal to a kingdom is comically absurd, but only because he's mastered a visual alchemy. He disturbs space with opposing forces of colour perspective. Blue advances and black recedes, Tal R's tunnel seems to define itself in neither one place nor the other, but instead fits into a dimension of its own.
Tal R’s Birth of Laughing Chinaman is a pastiche of visual imagery; the construction of this piece is as incongruous as an out of time lip-sync. Tal R’s cartoon-ish drawing obeys no discernable logic. The room, in disjointed perspective, becomes a depository for random items of Tal R’s invention: 60’s furniture, a ship in a bottle, shrunken heads and voodoo sculptures. Revelling in absurdity, Tal R creates this image simply to will its existence. Collaged elements, such as the film projector and spider web, serve to further distort the sense of space, their applied shapes contribute to the jumbled disorder.
Tal R sees his paintings as a form of storytelling. His drawings and paintings adopt a playful sophistication; in their faux innocence they present the everyday world infused with wonder. In The Boots, Tal R takes pleasure in rendering the clichéd clutter of an adolescent bedroom: cobra poster and druggie candles strive to stamp their identity over the mum and dad homeliness of potted plants and knickknacks. Tucked away in this nasty lair, Tal R’s figure takes particular pleasure in his outlandish footwear.
Tal R's Tomland is a splendour of visual confusion, where colours and forms float in and out of focus. He paints space in the most topsy-turvy way: where distance is readily accepted as ‘large' and ‘small' and a dozen pure hues join forces to become one indestructible mass. The vibrancy of Tal R's painting only works as a whole, but it is almost too much to be absorbed. He offers a domino effect of perception: any hope of escapism is immediately brought back to the surface each and every time.
Tal R’s drawings operate like highly rendered versions of the places his paintings might represent; half way between realism and its total corruption via the artist’s imagination. Favoured motifs reoccur in different form, and recognisable imagery transforms into clunky geometry. In Tranquebar Tal R draws a scene of gothic fairytale proportion; his mystical village with wandering goat bears striking resemblance to a Mediterranean cemetery. The fragmented ground, made of collaged patches of paper, underscores this shifting illusion.
Tal R skilfully transplants the innocence of childhood into the knowingness of the adult world; his work often culminates in a pubescent inanity, all too aware of its contradictions. In Pyramid Player, Tal R depicts a glam rock fantasy. Drawn in the style of story-book illustration, Tal R embraces the puerile occultism of teen pastime: an Elton John-like idol cum pagan deity, the fertile symbolic animals a juvenile excuse to draw penises. In his faux-ingenuousness, Tal R insinuates a complicated nostalgia, a longing for a time when malevolence was just play.
Tal R merges the stylised primitivism of the avant-garde with his own contemporary lexicon of suburban culture. Inspired by the psychedelia of 60’s album covers, Tal R’s Cream 13 portrays all the accoutrements of rock and roll sin with a ham-fisted approximation of Picasso. Use of low art materials, such as biro pen and cut and paste, lends a degenerate feel to this high art reference, trapping the drawing between teenage doodle and masterpiece.
In this tribute to very large hairstyles, Tal R elaborates on the obsessive patterning which is predominant throughout his work. Psykologi Canit Dance shows Tal R at his most refined. Drawn entirely in ballpoint pen, his women are like flowers in window displays, gaining an unlikely fragile elegance, beautifully embossed into the smooth surface of the paper.
In Birth of Figure, Tal R humorously depicts his process of artistic creation. Drawing tongue-in-cheek reference to Courbet’s L’Origine du Monde, Tal R’s earth mother is the opposite of sexual: simply a giant pair of cartoon-ish legs, she perversely spurts out one masterpiece after the next. Surrounded by the grotesque totems of her making, they dumbly stare in bleak confrontation. The chequered pattern of the bed suggests the conceptual stratagem of chess.
Depicting an artist’s studio, Tal R’s Inside Out seizes on the clichéd perceptions of creative value. Clad in tie-dyed muumuu, surrounded by rows of dried flowers, and ugly muddy pots, Tal R portrays his sculptress as a new age bohemian. These ethics of communal harmony and individual expression are prized above all else in Tal R’s work. His art is made of everyday experience and materials, his contribution construed as generosity of vision.
Tal R uses vortex compositions repetitively in his work, as seen in paintings such as Melody and Fungusia. In his drawing Spiral Bar, Tal R pushes this design to the extreme. Like an alcoholic’s fantasy of the ultimate cocktail lounge Spiral Bar spins out of control in dizzying delight. Tal R’s drawing is a time consuming process: the web of lines has been ruled, and shading added to create the illusion of sculptural depth. Painstaking detail places Spiral Bar as an endeavour of addictive compulsion.
Tal R, Birth of Figure, 2003
pen,pencil,acrylic paint,felt-tip pen, chalk on paper
37 x 72 cm
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