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Articles Published About Anna Pasternak's Work of Art

Anna Pasternak / Between Sea and Shore
by Daniella Talmor,
Curator of the Exhibition, The Zaritsky Artists’ House, Tel Aviv, Summer 2010

(Translated from Hebrew)
 

Italian Painting tradition is readily seen through the paintings of artist Anna Pasternak.  The exhibition “Between Sea and Shore” deals with the interrelations between people and the relationship between human beings and their environment.  Each one of her paintings brings out a visual experience deriving from a profound observation of the surrounding reality, and describes most intimately the human diversity as seen at the seashore vicinity. The paintings serve as a means of expression for scenes and events, and express a wide range of human feelings.

 

 

Anna Pasternak was born in Israel, to a family of artists of Italian origin.  She grew up in the Sharon area, in a small, isolated farm surrounded by citrus orchards, a sort of island detached from the Israeli reality.

Since her childhood and throughout her entire life she devoted herself to painting; her prolific body of work is rooted in western figurative painting tradition. Anna’s mother, painter Elena Colombo Bachi, was a student of the renowned artist Felice Casorati, who worked in Turin at the beginning of last century, and she used to portray landscapes devoid of human figures. The daughter, Anna Pasternak, who in the past painted under the name Bachi, says that her paintings constitute, in her own view, a continuing link to those of her mother, but she introduces into them human beings, that were absent in her mother’s works, mainly while in motion.

 

 

After a decade in which Pasternak devoted herself to Abstract Painting – following studies under Yehezkel Streichman, Avigdor Stematsky and Aharon Kahana – she felt she reached an impasse. At that point she decided to return to figurative painting, or, as she puts it – she returned “to depict what she sees”. It is the visual experience that stimulates in Pasternak the drive to paint, and since she does not see herself, she has never painted a self-portrait. To her, painting is life, and life is painting, that’s why she is bound to depict the fascinating visual reality, the flow of life. When painting, she focuses on life experiences as an uninvolved observer, she watches but remains unseen.

   

Time plays a central role in Pasternak’s paintings. For many years she painted series of identical figures in changing situations. In series such as “Backgammon Players”, “Reflections”, and “Street Scenes”, she studied the sequence of motions in a given location. Each painting represented a single frozen instant, out of an activity’s flowing duration. The paintings of the current exhibition are situated mostly at the seashore, depicting a variety of contexts and periods of time, and the artist’s unique point of view weaves the hidden linkage between them, thus conveying the exhibition’s narrative.

 

 

The sea, seen as the heart of the exhibition, is not merely a backdrop to human activity occurring at its vicinity, but acquires an equivalent importance to that of the people.  The human figures depicted in the paintings are not staged, but are engaged in natural lifelike activities. Time in these paintings is represented not only by people’s motions, but also by shadows’ shifting, which functions as a clock timing various hours of the day: morning, midday, dusk. The different seasons are represented as well, mainly in paintings such as “Winter at DadoBeach”, “Rainy Day”, “Autumn”, “Mondrian at the Beachfront”, “Dusk”, and “Between Sea and Shore”.

 

 

One of the central points emphasized in Pasternak’s work focuses on the examination of the interrelations between the various components of the paintings’ composition. Human figures, which play a key role in her works of art, appear side by side with stunning images of nature. The human image is shaped by a play of delicate tonality, free and fascinating, drawn by sweep brush strokes, setting down colorful lines and forms. The direct, rhythmical and confident placement of color crystallizes into a colorful fabric of shapes, while seascapes and landscapes balance the painting. The figurative painting, flat and free, the loose placement of colors, partly abstract, covers it with figures whose mimetic appearance is merely suggested, and the tonal values build up the structure and atmosphere.


 

Anna Pasternak’s artistic work is based on observation. In her studio her ideas take shape, color, inspiration and atmosphere, bringing to life layers of multi-centennial painting tradition. The reality which comes into being on her canvases is formed by freestanding colors and shapes, and at the same time manages to maintain her characteristic, unique artistic touch, which is a personal and direct means of expression. The impressive presence of her paintings, true masterpieces, binds them into a sort of pastoral picture album showing an eternal circulatory existence unlimited by time or space. Existential enigmas that promise to remain unsolved forever.

  

Daniella Talmor, Former Chief Curator of the Haifa Museum of Contemporary Art.
Tel Aviv, August 2010

 

 

 

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