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July 10 - August 16, 2003 at Galerie Yoramgil, Beverly Hills

by Roberta Carasso

“Untitled,” stoneware and
porcelain, 15 x 5/12 x 5 7/8”.

“Untitled,” stoneware and porce-
lain, 20 1/8 x 13 3/8 x 10 1/4”.

“Untitled,” stoneware and porce-
lain, 14 1/8 x 20 7/8 x 5 7/8”.

“Untitled,” stoneware and porce-
lain, 16 1/8 x 16 1/8 x 8 5/8"”.
Existentially-minded artists impart a fresh glimpse into the nature of the human condition, each from their own personal experience. In About Being Human Dalit Tayar excavates, with the help of scuptural media, the kernel of her unique essence--being Israeli, an American, and a woman. The art provokes us to contemplate the self--that sequestered human soul, hidden beneath thick social, psychological, educational, and religious layers.

With great sensitivity, Tayar models three-dimensional figures cocooned in hidden architectural spaces, peering out from a crack or breaking out of a solid wall. A singular sheltered being suggests an eternal duality: the need for protection from the outer world and a cautious desire to emerge into it. Duality is also present in the materials Tayar chooses. Figures are carved from fragile porcelain, but are surrounded by hefty and indestructible stoneware slabs. A head, a full adult nude or a baby are contained in the stone masses, giving the carefully selected breaths of air between materials greater relevance. At times the enclosure resembles a coffin, a shallow pool, a closet, a break in a wall, a slice of a pyramid; in each case there is just enough room for the figure to gaze out, as light and shadows cast earth-tones, like dimensional poetry, on the enigmatic being.

The structures are solid and formal, fashioned in one piece or created in stages. A head is carved and fired and then placed within a solid chamber to become one with the total structure. Inevitably, this form of partial burial adds to the mystery, the compelling energy of the art, as we cannot see the whole and must imagine what is missing.

One of the first artistic qualities to be noticed is Tayar's use of surface--smooth, textured, sensual and eternal. Along with a hint of color, the surface of each piece exudes an archeological quality. Yet, Tayar’s art is extremely modern in content. Rodin’s forms come to mind, especially in the way the figure emerges from raw stone and is one with the material. Tayar, however, deliberately makes a distinction between subject, context, and material. The figure exists in an enclosure, but is not part of it.

The artist’s subtle handling of the space between the figure and what holds it speaks to the thick layers of isolation that can develop. There is an analogue between materials and existenial ideas: certain obscured inner tensions want to remain hidden, others invite inquiry and seek to be revealed. This hairline between the figure and its outer walls also conveys reluctances and ambiguities between the inner and outer self--who the being has become, in contrast to what that being really is. In addition, Tayar’s forms point to the barriers between the self and others and how impenetrable these can become.

Included in the exhibition are two works that diverge from the main theme, yet they are consistent with the rest of the works aesthetically. In The Foxes, two nudes with animal heads sit on rectangular forms. Here Tayar exposes what is only implied in her other forms--the animal nature of the human being. Then there is the artist’s recreation of an Israeli village--a relic of the past, slowly disappearing, complete with ancient Middle-Eastern buildings whose rounded domes, curved shapes, and exotic feel suggest ancient purposes. Also enclosures, these structures continue Tayar’s quest for authenticity beneath the heavy encrustations laid over the self by modern society.