Tal Mazliach's new exhibition at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art
deals with the gap between the beauty of painting and its profound and subversive themes. Her paintings are constructed like a riddle which the viewer must decipher. Beyond the colorful, tempting, almost blinding cover, there hides a plethora of images, of figures and of symbols, imbued with sentences and words that consolidate into a full, complex pictorial and emotional world. A deep, prolonged observation exposes an intricate layering and reveals yet more details, which eventually become a flickering puzzle, demanding repeated scrutiny from the viewer.
A constant tension exists in the paintings between revealing and concealing, between the part and the whole, between the naïve and the self-conscious, between a series of intertwined contexts.
A series of self portraits revealing the woman artist with a phallus implies a confused gender identity. Dealing with the self and the defective body is related to the personal experience of the artist, who was born with a rare skin disease, in which the whole skin is covered by dots. The defective skin echoes in the dazzling pattern of the paintings, which become the skin itself.
Tal Mazliach lives and works in Kfar Aza, a pastoral kibbutz that is also threatened by the complex and difficult political reality of life along the Israeli security fence. The presence of existential anxiety infiltrates her compositions, spreading across the painterly support and imbuing it with a constant sense of disquiet.