Black Paintings

Alima Rita (1932-2013) is renowned for her use of color as a central value. Since the early 1960s her paintings have been based on pure colors examining what she referred to as “the relations between colors”, “the colorful neighbors” and “power facing power”. In 1969 Alima got acquainted with screen printing, a technique that would bear decisive influence on her entire work. Turning to print allowed her to extract the most out of color’s power, while weakening the role of painting as the sole means of expressing virtuosity and emotions.

Alima’s pursuit of the qualities of color somewhat overshadowed her growing interest in black shades. Upon completion of her studies, her painting on canvas tended toward dark hues, using oil colors and trading her brush for the spatula. At the same time in her works on paper she examined different materials, among them gouache, oil, ink, pencils, marble dust and wax. She found these works to be mainly summoning “trial and error” processes, as they reflect new beginnings.

Her early experience with black color finds a different expression in her late works. The ‘Black Paintings’ in this exhibition belong to the creative period between 2005 and 2013. They were mostly created on large paper rolls in an attempt to encompass the evolution of her work over the years. The paintings draw together an array of signs and forms that represents a kind of visual lexicon spanning from emotional expressionism to rational square color surfaces. Featuring both experimental free drawing and a measured line, they echo memories from inspirational landscapes that are mainly expressed in her later prints: parallel stripes resembling plowed furrows or a line of cypress trees, a black square in the shape of a field, the curvature of the horizon at the top of a mountain or a waterfall, and intensive hatching that brings chrysanthemum or poppy fields to the mind.

As opposed to her early works that took on an experimental character, these late paintings are perceived as a mature and absolute statement encapsulating knowledge that has been accumulated over a lifetime of artistic creation. “For years I have been dealing with color in order to penetrate its depths”, she said. “Today my feeling is very precise. Nowadays, whenever I use the color black I wish to convey the bottom line without going into details. It is the first thing that was ever made. The black stain is an act of creation. It is absolute. It is also the end of all things.”


Black Paintings

Curator: Yaniv Shapira

October-December 2016

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