Kohn Gallery opens a solo exhibition of paintings and sculpture by artist Nir Hod

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Kohn Gallery opens a solo exhibition of paintings and sculpture by artist Nir Hod
Nir Hod "What We Left Behind". Installation Shot. Courtesy of Kohn Gallery.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Kohn Gallery is presenting the first West Coast solo exhibition of paintings and sculpture by the Israeli born, New York-based artist Nir Hod. Over the last 20 years, the artist has exhibited internationally in Europe, Asia, Israel, and the United States, and has established a reputation for intrinsically beautiful works, from figuration to abstraction, that belies a deeper, fundamental meaning. “By telling the truth through beauty,” says Hod, “you get away with many things.”

In the late 19th Century, the famous art dealer Duveen announced that the newly varnished surfaces of the Rembrandts and Raphaels he sold to the industrial titans of the age were so highly reflective that they would see their own reflection in these Old Masters. Nir Hod’s new work markedly places the viewer within the painting by means of the chromed, reflective surface area. Hod explains, "The viewer’s reflection is mirrored back and they become part of the artwork. They position themselves in the painting and create their own distracted image, and the viewer metaphorically becomes the subject of the painting. In the age of social media, the idea and exploration of narcissism are ever more relevant.”

This idea is especially resonant in Hod's latest series of abstract paintings, where Hod begins his process with heavily labored gradient beneath paintings adding a chroming technique first developed by the US navy in 1939. The artist then degrades this finish application via water, ammonia, air pressure, and various acids to create a surface tension between newfangled industrial applications and age-old oil techniques. These new canvases are heavily laden with paint and chrome, and the result is a perfect, nuanced balance between surface elegance and painterly depth.

Hod’s sculpture “I will always wait for you even if you never come back” is a similar theme in a different form, relevant to what’s going in the world today. Things become so fragile and melt into something different. Remnants of what was while transforming into something new. The idea that life is a memory and it remains in motion is highlighted in the materials he uses and the selection of remnants from a social and emotional event. The theme of escalation and abandonment is also portrayed in the brick ruins, leftover cigarettes, half-eaten pizza and cookies, as well as the long-abandoned rusted beer can. The melted candle wax visually freezes a moment of time passing in poetic motion.

Nir Hod is currently showing at the Jewish Museum in New York and Sara Hilden Art Museum in Finland. Nir Hod’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, The Israel Museum, The Jewish Museum and numerous private collections around the world.

Nir Hod (b. 1970, Tel Aviv, Israel) lives and works in New York. He earned his BFA at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem and attended Cooper Union School of Art in New York City in 1991. Hod has had several solo exhibitions in the United States and abroad with his first show in 1996 at Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv. He has had solo exhibitions at Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel; The Museum of Israeli Art, Ramat Gan, Israel; Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, NY; Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York, NY; Gavlak Gallery in Palm Beach, FL; and Michael Fuchs Gallery, Berlin, Germany, among others. His work has been in numerous group exhibitions nationally and internationally from New York to London, Berlin, Vienna, and Israel. These include the Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel; Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum, Berlin, Germany; Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, NY; The Jewish Museum, New York, NY; The Vienna Jewish Museum, Vienna, Austria; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; Yerba Buena Center for the Art, San Francisco, CA; Museum of Modern Art, Oostende, Belgium; The Flag Art Foundation, New York, NY; Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY; among others.

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