New York-based Israeli artist Yigal Ozeri made his debut at the Opera Gallery Hong Kong last month, exhibiting a series of exceptional paintings.

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Opera Gallery Hong Kong | Photography by Christy Chin

Referring to his artistic inspirations, Ozeri mentions that his “very romantic” artworks are heavily influenced by The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and American painters Andrew Wyeth and Lucian Freud.

Ozeri firmly believes “nature and people [especially women] go together”, claiming it is difficult “separate the two [nature and women]” since it  is equally challenging to paint the hair of a woman compared to the leaves behind her.  Within his artist statement, Ozeri states that it is always his “modus vivendi to find a way to focus on them both”.  Both nature and people are important to him in the same way.

Untitled; Olya, 36x54 inches, oil on canvas, 2016

Untitled | Olya In Minnewaska | Photography by Opera Gallery Hong Kong

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Opera Gallery Hong Kong | Photography by Christy Chin

Known for his astonishingly photorealistic style and sophisticated finish of paintings, Ozeri has a marked predilection for a classical vision of female beauty. Painted with thousands of tiny brushstrokes, Ozeri’s impeccable handiwork and alluring subject matter blurs the lines between superficiality and reality.

Untitled; Olya, 42x60 inches, oil on canvas, 2016..

Untitled | Olya in the Field | Photography by Opera Gallery Hong Kong

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Untitled (Close-Up) | Olya In The Field | Photography by Christy Chin

Ozeri starts out his work with film and photography and typically takes 2,000 – 3,000 shots during his photoshoots. He then archives and selects which images to paint. Producing his artworks by projecting the digital image(s) onto the canvas and then painting “a light (but detailed) sketch” in his studio – a process called ‘underpainting’. He continues to fill in the image layer by layer, part by part.

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Untitled | Kendall | Photography by Christy Chin

The movement of photorealism started in the early 1960s where artists depended heavily on photographs to create their work, replicating their images with precision and accuracy. With the greatest of respect for this process, the artist comments on its development and how it affected his artistic creation:

“When photorealism began artists like Chuck Close and Richard Estes used 35mm cameras – the information those cameras provided was very dull. Since then the technological development changed photorealism drastically. There is a significant amount of details that are provided now, allowing artists to give more life to my paintings.”

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Untitled | Olya In Minnewaska | Photography by Christy Chin

Delivering classical feminine beauty with realistic solar flares, dreamy backlight, and jubilant colour tones, Ozeri’s paintings generate an elated sensuality of women interacting with nature. Ozeri’s work is different than most photorealistic artists today – he does not paint frozen moments or still life, but rather emotion and intimacy. The artist further comments on what he feels makes his artwork special:

“My work deals with more of the psychological moment of the person whom I paint. My work is alive, you almost feel and smell what is happening.”

With special thanks to Yigal Ozeri for his artistic insight and personal comments; and Opera Gallery Hong Kong for Press materials.

Written by Christy Chin

Edited by Christina Wright

References

Yigal Ozeri (2016) Yigal Ozeri [Online] Available at http://www.yigalozeriartist.com [Accessed on 30/06/2016]

Opera Gallery (2016) Shadows of Reality – Yigal Ozeri 2016 [Online] Available at http://www.operagallery.com/media/357.pdf [Accessed on 03/07/2016]

The Art Story Foundation (2016) Photorealism [Online] Available at http://www.theartstory.org/movement-photorealism.htm [Accessed on 04/07/2016]