Blossoming memories 2015

Blossoming memories

During a cross-country journey through Australia, the artist Amos Rogers encountered the ancient Aboriginal culture, a culture disconnected from agriculture, cities and technology. Aboriginal Australians are ancestors of hunter-gatherer tribes that immigrated to Australia tens of thousands of years ago.  For thousands of years the Aboriginals have used symbolism in order to pass on their traditions. A large portion of this symbolism manifests itself in lines, dots and recurring patterns and in the use of bold colors.

An element that left an impression on Amos was the Australian landscape and wild vegetation. Australia’s flora is diverse and inventive. The vegetation is exotic and appears to combine imperceptible colors to the untrained eye. The unique tones of the landscape left the artist with significant questions concerning our ability to preserve nature and our relationship to the environment.

The artist considered- how can one express both inspiration drawn from Aboriginal lost art along with the exotic region’s colorful nature and distinctive flowers? The technique that enabled this endeavor was the combination of carving, painting and printmaking. This method involved the use of different layers that created different depths on top of raw materials originally intended for a different use.

The large industrial wood surfaces were originally intended for use as raw materials for kitchen furniture. The surfaces were carved by hand, without sketching or preparation, with a wood hammer on wood carving knives.  After the carving, the surfaces were painted with an ink-roller that emphasized the vacant space left in the wood. On top of the carved wood and black ink painted wood the artist applied the final layer of painting. The paints, unintended for wood, were chosen to emphasize the original use of each component in the work. The paint’s watery quality resembled brush painting yet also allowed precision.

The series of large prints (160×160 cm) shown in the exhibition is essentially a reflection of the wood surfaces. However, the surfaces portrayed in the series are separate surfaces than the ones exhibited here. The panels were carved with a wood hammer and carving knives and then painted with black ink and printed on paper. The printing was achieved not with a press but rather by applying physical pressure directly onto the block print.  The series of small prints (50×50 cm), created in a process similar to the large prints, is unique in its abstraction and the application of a sawing and embossment technique.

The palm tree is composed of abandoned raw materials found in the street. These found objects were the artist’s muse for this piece. The tree trunk was originally a hardwood basketball floor and the branches were shelves. The palm tree, ubiquitous and prominent in Australian scenery, is also present in the urban Israeli setting. The tree is a connecting thread between the two places, Australia and Israel.

The carving process, the ink rolling and the final painting were tools for creating the flower imagery that was inspired from two sources: the Aboriginals and Australia’s exotic landscape. The use of parallel and curved lines was inspired from the Aboriginal Australians. The abstract and general form of the flowers also characterizes the Aboriginals’ method of transferring messages. The allure of Australian flora stems from its vibrancy and the uniqueness of each of its components. For this reason, there is no repetition of flowers; each flower, carved and painted on the wood surface, is one-of-a-kind.

The exhibition is a combination of memory, imagination and space. Memory- not only a memory of a personal journey to Australia, but also a collective human memory, the forgotten culture of hunter-gatherers. Imagination- inspired by the Aboriginals and expressed by use of a multitude of raw materials for a new creation. Space- the Australian landscape, the importance of nature as man’s environment, the use of local new and used materials and the significance of the palm tree in both landscapes.