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Preface (to one of my catalogues)

Written By Neta Dor Lemelshtrich

I perceive in everything, however “inanimate,” its peculiar flow. Even boats moored to the shore quiver with a movement which emanates from the bowels of the earth and rises towards the erect, antennae-like masts, conveying the voices of nature: Today they are here, tomorrow they will be elsewhere – there is something enthralling about this constant flux. Nothing remains as it was, and the very attempt to immortalize a specific moment is paradoxical, the image itself having vanished before it could even be sketched on the paper. Cyclicity, perpetual change, and the contrast between them have preoccupied me in the past few years, and I have depicted and written about this dual theme recurrently – each time in a different mode and from a different angle. It can be a fabric fluttering around the body of a dancer as well as drifting clouds, a flowing river or a field changing with the annual seasons – a wellspring of motifs which become symbols of life itself – of what happens to us human beings and to nature surrounding us. This engrossment with movement and flux informs the different series presented in this catalogue, above and beyond any specific image.

I have always been captivated by landscape. The colors in nature have a strong effect on me and the sight of water and sky can make my mood swing from one extreme to the other. Open spaces incite my imagination, and I never tire of watching birds in flight – a dominant theme in my recent work. I often draw, paint and write stories about birds in their natural habitat, thrilled by their marvelous ability to fly, gliding with the wind, and observing the world from afar, from above, in a bird’s-eye view. I’m especially intrigued by migratory birds, secure in their sense of belonging to a flock, knowing instinctively when to move on and when to return along a fixed axis, generation after generation, with infallibe regularity, according to the cyclic rhythm of nature.

Birds perch on tall trees, on electricity poles and rooftops, vigilant, distant yet close – and always “on top of” everything. Their roving freedom is in sharp contrast to the dangers lurking along their course. Sometimes I feel that by painting them I come a bit closer to them. But even as I try to freeze the flight of the bird but for a moment on the paper or canvas, I know that it will keep on flying – keep on eluding me – and so it becomes a symbol of the flux of life.

It’s exciting to detect small birds hidden in the bushes. The honeysucker, the goldfinch, the sunbird, minuscule bundles of energy . . . I love to paint them on very small boards. I recently began to concentrate on miniatures. They give me great pleasure, and also remind me of the jewelry I used to make in the delicate and intricate filigree technique. The miniatures lend themselves to my favorite images: a cupboard with old jars, a picturesque, half-hidden gate, a lonely bench wrapped in a golden coat of fallen leaves, a branch with tender blossoms evocative of a Japanese painting, or the tiny birds I succeed capturing on the paper in those rare, magic moments when they are oblivious of my close presence.

The world around us races ahead in tireless pursuit of new and audacious achievements, and that’s as it should be, for nothing can stand still. Progress will come to pass whether we like it or not, but once in a while we should stop in our tracks to observe the little things around us, to realize that everything has its very own course and rhythm, no matter what we attempt to do about it, and to contemplate permanence in the midst of change – arresting the mad race for a moment to search, reflect and look inwards.

Neta Dor Lemelshtrich


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