Artworks

PRESS RELEASE:

YIGAL OZERI | AMERICANA
Curator: Shear Ozeri

Opening Reception: Saturday, November 13 at 8pm

In the current exhibition Americana, Ozeri has chosen to focus on ‘the diner’ as an American icon; an institution that has its image engraved into the fabric of American life. Ozeri aesthetically captures the most appealing retro-elements from the furniture to the lighting. The chrome accessories reflect pops of neon and bold lines of vibrant colors. Vintage antique memorabilia make their way into the composi- tions adding a charming nostalgia of yesteryear.

Many cultural artifacts fall within the definition of Americana; some are just faded notions, typically associated with quintessential elements of American culture. Symbols such as route 66, Coca Cola, Levi’s Jeans, and apple pie, to name a few— all have the “American charm” that we visualize when thinking of the word. Today the diner occupies its rightful place in the American backcountry, leaving its mark for gen- erations to come.

The diner has always been a sanctuary, a space that is both public yet personal. It positions itself somewhere between a home and a restaurant; a step up the social ladder. It provided respectability for the working class, a sought-after ‘hangout’ for high school kids, an affordable eat- ing experience for families. The diner was a refreshing oddity loosen- ing up social boundaries in a time where eating out was a privilege of the elite.

As an added component to the classic undertone of his paintings, in this series Ozeri includes contemporary details that will be forever etched in our collective psyche, making it timeless and time specific simultaneously. There are subtle nuances of COVID 19 implications from a waitress wearing a face covering, to a thermometer check in the entrance, to a “barely there” sign in the window requiring patrons to wear masks. Ozeri juxtapositions the new with the old making this series multifaceted and complex. He remains true to his painting approach combining sharp detailed brushstrokes with abstract constituents. Illuminated by visceral imagery of retrospective architecture and interiors, his paintings come to life capturing the space between the physical and the abstract.

This series represents more than the obvious symbolism behind it, on many levels it embodies the American Dream. As the great James Truslow Adams states “The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, the set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, as well as an upward social mobility for the family and children, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers.” Ozeri comes full circle here, as he too immigrated to New York with his family in 1991 hoping to achieve just that.

Americana, Ozeri’s latest exhibition at Zemack Contemporary Art features a novel subject-matter for the artist. It elaborates on the themes of past and present in American symbolism and explores the concept of the American Dream now. The series allows the artist to continue his exploration of identity and intimacy within a cultural shifting background.


Yigal Ozeri has shown extensively around the world including solo exhibits in Spain, China, The Netherlands, France, Germany, and Mexico. His work is featured on the cover, and included in the book Photorealism and the Digital Age. He is currently in a solo museum exhibition at the Flint Institute of Art through January 2022. He is also in the permanent collections of: The Whitney Museum of American Art, The McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, The Jewish Museum in New York, The New York Public Library, The Smithsonian Art Museum in Washington, D.C Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and the Albertina in Vienna, among others.

Ozeri is represented by Zemack Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv.