There is an undeniable sense of presence in Liat Yossifor’s work. Though physical in their embodiment, the gestural paintings composed of layers upon layers of recorded action, elicit a reflective consideration for the invincible. Created through a series of cogitative yet physically strenuous performances, the final compositions are a result of three-day sessions of knife work and limb-driven strokes. The surface is worked over and over with constant moments of erasure. The true narrative of these works, as one could attribute to the way history and time cultivate, is in their past. The final compositions are gestured breaths to an event, artifacts.
The title, A Body of Water, references a memory. Growing up in Tel Aviv, Israel, Yossifor recalls swimming at night in the Mediterranean Sea and feeling the way the water would engulf the body. The stillness of the dark night sky overhead reflected onto the waters’ surface, allowed for the subtle ripples created by her own body to signal the only whispers of presence. Yossifor’s film titled A Body of Water, (2016), is a seamless composition combining several water surface engagements, the gentle strokes upon the water’s surface highlighting through absence that which we cannot see, a figure. In dialogue with the paintings, the film is a reference to the body. Extending from wall to wall, the film holds shape at arms length mimicking the pose one holds when threading water. Though a nod to an actual experience, the poetic nature of memory thrives in the exquisite details of the mind, in the ripples.
Yossifor’s practice addresses a narrative of the body through a layered and focused lens, that of her own. The paintings are limited by Yossifor’s own physicality mirroring her reach and movements. The patina of experience is an inescapable influence on the creation of the work; introspectively referencing self-identity, culturally and personally complex. Israel holds an important impact on Yossifor, the memory of her childhood there contrasted to the constantly shifting relationship to the land and its politics. The colors of the land are evident in the paintings, with their monochromatic tones of earthy grays. There is a dynamic and forcible quality to her mark-making, abstract yet emotionally loaded. What the layers behind the process hold is masked by the ephemerality of the process. Yet there is no denying that there is a story, buried within the language of the movement and texture. We can reflect back on to the water, the body floating weightlessly in a sea of subtle calmness. The shifts and gears of existence may continue to ripple around the body, the weight of the water becoming one with the weight of the self, eventually all fades and becomes again.
LIAT YOSSIFOR (b. 1974 Tel Aviv, Israel) lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Yossifor earned her MFA from the University of California, Irvine, 2002 and was a resident at the Frankfurter Kunstverein, Germany as a guest of the Deutsche Börse Residency Program (2010). Select solo exhibitions include Pre-Verbal Painting, The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, MO (2015); Expanding on an expansive subject, The Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA (2015); Time Turning Paint, Pitzer College Art Galleries, Claremont, CA (2015); Double Life, Galerie Anita Beckers, Frankfurt, Germany (2016); Movements, Ameringer McEnery Yohe, New York, NY (2015); The Dawning of an Aspect, Susanne Vielmetter Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2007); The Stand, Paramo Gallery, Guadalajara, Mexico (2016) and The Tender Among Us at the Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, CA (2007). Recent group exhibitions include Grafforists, Torrance Art Museum, CA; Stolen Gestures, Kunsthaus Nurnberg, Germany and Subject, Lyman Allyn Museum, New London, CT. Select Public Collections include The Marguilles Collection, Miami, Florida; Isabel and Agustin Coppel Collection, Mexico City, Mexico and CAA, Los Angeles, CA.