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Moshe Kassirer - by Yael Mosenzon

The paintings of Moshe Kassirer (born in Netanya, Israel, 1967) represent a yearning to unveil modern life of its complexity - yet they are anything but "simple".

 

The use of many alternate opaque and transparent paint layers reveals as much as it hides. This technique draws attention to the materiality of the paintings and to the act of painting as a labour-intensive activity. Likewise, the landscapes depicted are intensively worked by human hands: planted, cultivated, picked.

 

Kassirer paints scenes from his immediate environment, the Galilee; where he lives and works for the past ten years. His subjects are consistent: farmers working the land, olive and pomegranate groves throughout the seasons, olive harvest after the first rain, winding country roads. Following an urban upbringing and a career in public media, Kasirer made a conscious decision to leave the city and make his home in the Galilee.

 

Kassirer paints an environment in which he is deeply immersed, yet his gaze is as fresh as that of a visitor. His approach to the subject is not that of the "native", or an owner - but rather that of a long-term lover. He seems to be in-ore of nature, bewitched by it, and it is this freshness that moves viewers from al backgrounds and nationalities.

 

Closer examination of the works reveals the presence of personal codes that are embedded in the paintings themselves, or hinted-at through the titles. Fantasy and spiritualism make their way into the painted scenes through the use of unexpected bold colors, the use of reference to landscape artists of previous generations, and the not-quite-possible positions of the figures portrayed. Human existence within the age-old landscape and its impact on the natural environment is never an easy one, never to be taken for granted.

 

Some of Kassirer's paintings border on the naive in their treatment of human form, yet he is by no means a naive painter. The artist carries on his shoulders not only his own artistic production, but full awareness of the history of the Jewish people.

Born on a crucial turning point in Israeli history, the miracle of building a home for the Jewish people seems to be a personal source of joy and responsibility to him, combined with constant fear of its corruption or cessation.

 

Kassirer's works could be placed within a long tradition of landscape artists who painted their immediate environment. A European tradition that stretches back to key artists like Lorrain, Corot, Constable, Monet, Cezanne and Van Gogh. An American tradition that includes artists like Cole, Church, and more recently - Hopper and Diebenken. Within the Israeli context, only a few professional artists take on the challenge of painting their immediate surroundings again and again, and when they do, they often shy away from including narrative or symbolism within it.Kassirer is among those few.

 

The paintings of Kassirer could be viewed as picturesque scenes of the Galilee, or as representations of the complexity of this region within the wider historical context.

As such, they are as simple or as complex, as decorative or as highly charged - as their viewers.

 

Moseh Kassirer completed his artistic studies in the Avni Institute of Art and Camera Obscure School of Art (both in Tel Aviv), and received further tuition from the painters Naftali Golomb, Don Gasko, and Robert Bosler.

He exhibits widely in group exhibitions and have had seven one-man shows to date.

 

Yael Mosenzon, Curator and Artists' Representative.

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© Moshe Kassirer - Israeli art

© משה קסירר - אמנות ישראלית