Guy Shoham

Oil on Canvas
30 x 40 cm


Guy Shoham was born in Tel Aviv. After completing a BA in Fine Art, at the Bezalel Academy of Art in Jerusalem, he moved to London and gained an MFA from Chelsea College of Art in 2002. Guy lives and works in London and exhibits regularly in the UK and beyond.

Guy Shoham – Looking for the Horizon

Freehand lines sweep across the canvas, creating a map of junctions; a bare, skeletal, collapsing grid. On top of the drawn “carcass”, fields of colour are painted to create the “flesh”, draped between earth and sky. Seemingly cheerful, and celebratory, the “flags” hold meaning and reason, yet they also distract the eye from what lies in the distance.

The triangular flags make insinuations to the viewer. Sometimes they reveal a smile with big white teeth, a wave vibrating in the wind, a joyous celebration, or a warning, pointing the way to safety. The movements bring life and energy to the static canvas. We understand the messages. We are trained to react, and we respond without further questions.

Bunting may represent identity, bringing people together to proudly celebrate their shared community and values. Equally, it can mark a sinister regime masking its abuse of power. For Europeans steeped in the historical baggage of the 20th century, brightly coloured triangles represent the branding of minorities and political prisoners. They are badges which dehumanise and obscure the oppressor’s view of the person behind the triangle.

I was(not)

I had an eye operation at the age of three. I remember trying to remove the uncomfortable bandages, momentarily seeing a strip of bright light before the dressing was immediately put back in place.

This painting series is about colour and vision but at the same time, it is about the moment when your eyes fail you.

One early morning when I was waking up,I was (not) looking at one of my old paintingswhich hangs in my bedroom. Unfocused,in a dim light and without my spectacles, I could not recognise the painting that I was looking at.A vast open space receding in the middle of the picture plane. The (not) seeing stopped immediately when I put on my glasses.(not) seeing was a moment that I learned to cherish.

Coloured stripes describe a landscape seen through a collapsing structure. The compositions all adhere to this trinity. Moments of collapse are captured, although it is unclear whether the portal or the landscape is in peril. The Klee inspired stripes are adjacent and related hues which create the illusion of space, of visibility.

The landscapes are personal abstractions of memory and life-long experiences of looking and not seeing. Colour fields act as bandages, concealing that which is best not seen. They form representations of selective memory.

It was a moment of (not) seeing that gave birth to the new I was(not) painting series.

Guy Shoham 2018

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