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Sand & Stone
Exhibition of Paintings by Nira Spitz, Bet Gabriel, Northern Israel, 2011
“Being ‘indigenous’ is a sensual experience, impressed into the consciousness of the person who
lives in a particular place – until he associates it with his very self.The place itself – its light,
its heat and cold, its aromas, its birds and beetles – experiences impression and it is suffused with
consciousness, in its most primal form.”
Ariel Hirschfeld
Nira Spitz meanders through the streets of Jerusalem, stops to imbibe its
experiences and forms intimate acquaintances with its alleyways, its stone
edifices, its golden pathways and its evergreen trees. Jerusalem is Nira’s and
Nira is Jerusalem’s. She experiences a living, breathing world and shares a true
affinity with the place.
The realism in her works, more than anything else, attests to their local feel
and the wonderful connection between the artist and the object of her art.The
source of this realism finds itself in the artist’s desire not to fix reality, but to
reflect it as it is, and not necessarily to find beauty within.
Nira floods her paintings with light, with azure, with the authentic Zionist
dream of one who acknowledges the beauty of the Land, its stones, its grains
of sand and that which comes to her all the time; this wonderful Israeli light,
acutely blinding, and yet illuminating every grain of soil; every stone in the wall.
There are those who claim that the Israeli skies are truly azure only very rarely,
but Nira’s skies are bluer than blue, and they are more of a symbol than a reality.
There is much blue and green in her paintings; these colours so typical of the
palette of Baroque, Romanticist and Renaissance painters, and here they also
appear in a Jewish, Jerusalemite and Israeli symbolism – intertwined one with
the other.The shadows in her paintings reflect a mood of tranquillity, a shadow
of green trees, shadows of pleasant evenings in the city’s streets. Jerusalem is
comprised of patches of shadow and light that are so palpable.
The views of
strike their viewers with wonderment – so similar are they
to Israel’s coastline: sand and stone, and yet more sand and sea.
In the painting of the Mine at Jucurutu, in the forested mountains, there is
an exquisite and golden sunset. Nira Spitz was amazed to hear that there was
a background to her imagination and it was anchored in the first days of the
Settlement of the Land. After the FirstWorldWar, beginning in 1920, the Jews
of Safed started to emigrate from Israel to Brazil.The views of the city of Belo
Horizonte matched the views of Safed exactly, and there they also thought that
the streets were paved with gold…and yet, they were wrong.
Many stayed, and some returned to Israel. But the juxtaposition of spectacle and
soul are found once again after long years of absence, in the delightful paintings
of Nira from Brazil.
The characters in Nira Spitz’s
are distinctive because of the nature
of the painter, her professionalism, the uniqueness of the object. Some of them
are from vocations that have disappeared from our midst, the beauty of the
character attests to its correct location, because in the background is always a
room replete with artefacts, or a street full of purpose. All of them together
create wholeness to the character, the place and the subject of the painting.
Strict adherence to detail adds a depth and tremendous gravitas to the character;
the tailor directed to the eye of the needle, the fiddler enjoying his beautiful
violin, with complete and unadulterated focus; the goldsmith holding a perfect,
beautiful piece of jewellery.
It is a pleasure to study the paintings and draw inspiration from these unique
Yael Nitzan
Curator, Sand and Stone
Bet Gabriel,August 2011