Tomer Aluf at Tempo Rubato

Artist: Tomer Aluf

Exhibition title: Round Corners

Venue: Tempo Rubato, New York, US

Date: April 29 – July 8, 2017

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Tempo Rubato, New York

Tempo Rubato presents Round Corners, Tomer Aluf’s first solo exhibition at Tempo Rubato in Harlem. The artist’s previous major exhibition at the gallery (then located in Tel Aviv) was a 2-person show in collaboration with with Josef Strau, Turtles + 8 Paintings + Yellow Brown Blue, back in 2015.

In this new presentation, Aluf has selected a group of 9 newly-created paintings, most of which are set within the confines of a lose frame executed in a hue that could be described as “cartoon flesh”. These pieces are delineated by a skin-like outer boundary that manifests bodies as containers, as well as representations. Paying a visit to the space during installation, Terttu Uibopuu noted, amused, that this element reminds her of the viscerality of flesh cut open. These are, perhaps, the “Round Corners”of the title; buffers between the world and the painted surface, an anthropomorphic trait that defines as well as it draws in with its familiarity.

In what could be coined an initiation ritual, Aluf starts off by laying down outlined compositional elements pertaining to previous painting, using thickly applied acrylic gel. Once painted over, these under layers exist as a highly textured but somewhat discreet manifestation of concepts and forms past. Acting as crutches just as well as handicaps, these founding formal gestures point to an internal system of filiation that exists from one painting to the next. Just as in the story, the last will be first, and the first will be last. Where a painting ends, another begins in a surreal, but natural evolution that calls to mind a form of generational transmission.

The works are bound by a link of sorority more than by the mechanics of seriality. Despite the visible establishment of a well-defined visual language, Aluf’s pieces stand individually in their exclusion of strict rules. They result more from a state of mind than from any kind of orthodoxy. They are in fact the result of an intellectual and poetic effort that accepts the insistence of obsessions while letting in the element of surprise. “A rule is only as good as its ability to break” Thomas Erben recently noted, pondering a piece.

Where figuration makes an appearance, the identified subjects are visual remnants of brutalist architecture in Tel Aviv, the outline of cat, a free-floating butt, a female nipple in a squeeze. They signify references to memories and tropes, rather than aid in the formation of a given narrative. In layered landscapes, Aluf makes coexist dense, “difficult” colors with unapologetic flatness and painterly areas that betray a discreet but declared attention to Picasso, Oehlen or Kippenberger. No man on their own, no county alone. Aluf describes his work as a collaborative effort.

What happens on the canvas is all at once informed, calculated, accidental and poetically inclined. Across the surfaces, rushed, dry, fast, almost immaterial strokes side with areas of quasi grotesque density. In the latter, the accumulation of matter commands an immediacy that precludes the use of a brush. Oozing the oil onto the canvas straight from its container, Aluf operates a transfer with utmost economical means; between the thumb and the index, a press – a release.

Tomer Aluf recently received solo exhibitions at Retrospective Gallery (Free Drama, 2015), Kansas Gallery (Thirteen, 2014).He is the recipient, of the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Prize (2006), the Dedalus Foundation Award (2013) and the American Cultural Foundation (2006) to cite a few. Aluf is one of the codirectors of Soloway Gallery in Brooklyn, a collaborative curatorial project. For more information: http://soloway.info

Tomer Aluf, Round Corners, 2017, exhibition view, Tempo Rubato, New York

Tomer Aluf, Round Corners, 2017, exhibition view, Tempo Rubato, New York

Tomer Aluf, Kikar Atarim #1, 2017, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 72 x 66 inches (182.88 x 167.64 cm)

Tomer Aluf, Round Corners, 2017, exhibition view, Tempo Rubato, New York

Tomer Aluf, Kikar Atarim #2, 2017, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 72 x 66 inches (182.88 x 167.64 cm)

Tomer Aluf, Kikar Atarim #3, 2017, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 60 x 54 inches (152.40 x 137.16 cm)

Tomer Aluf, Round Corners, 2017, exhibition view, Tempo Rubato, New York

Tomer Aluf, Round Corners, 2017, exhibition view, Tempo Rubato, New York

Tomer Aluf, Round Corners, 2017, exhibition view, Tempo Rubato, New York

Tomer Aluf, Kikar Atarim #4, 2017, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 72 x 66 inches (182.88 x 167.64 cm)

Tomer Aluf, Round Corners, 2017, exhibition view, Tempo Rubato, New York

Tomer Aluf, Untitled, 2017, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 72 x 66 inches (182.88 x 167.64 cm)

Tomer Aluf, Untitled, 2017, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 64 x 60 inches (162.56 x 152.40 cm)

Tomer Aluf, Round Corners, 2017, exhibition view, Tempo Rubato, New York

Tomer Aluf, Round Corners, 2017, exhibition view, Tempo Rubato, New York

Tomer Aluf, Untitled, 2017, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 64 x 60 inches (162.56 x 152.40 cm)

Tomer Aluf, Round Corners, 2017, exhibition view, Tempo Rubato, New York

Tomer Aluf, Untitled, 2016, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 40 x 34 inches (101.60 x 86.36 cm)

Tomer Aluf, Untitled, 2016, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 40 x 34 inches (101.60 x 86.36 cm)

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