The Big Brother, 2008, oil on canvas, courtesy of the artist
One of the paintings exhibited is named by Shai Azoulay The Ancient and the Plasma: a painter stands in an appliance store surrounded by LCD screens. His figure is surrounded by an aura of white lines, his clothes and the floor around him are cluttered with drawing tools, and he holds a remote-control, which he points at one of the screens. The screens are blank and monochromatic. In fact, they look like abstract paintings. An image appears only in the top screens, but they can easily be mistaken as Renaissance landscapes- through- the-window, or simply windows which display a distant view. Between the plasma screens, which look like both abstract and landscape paintings, stands the artist, the splitting-image of Azoulay, and appears as though he is shooting at them, trying, in vain, to impose an image on the empty displays.
Almost all of his paintings are reflexive about painting, about the artist's studio and his pictorial world. It could be assumed that a heightened self-awareness would weigh heavy on the hand movement and the painting's momentum, but Azoulay, as it seems, carries the burden of painting with a recognition that is not depressing. On the contrary: it is liberating. Cheerfully he takes the "antiques" upon himself, looks directly into the plasma, and free from the need to be new, creates his lush, saturated and vital pictorial world.
Born in Israel, 1971; lives and works in Jerusalem