I Can Do Something With This

An Exhibition to Mark the First Anniversary of Her Death

Ruth Schloss’s works have made their way into the public’s heart, but Ruth Schloss herself never placed herself at the center, never belonged to leading art movements, and. Schloss consolidated an independent status and name for herself, although she never received backing from the very core of the art establishment. Her painting always focused on people and on social subjects – even when painting of this kind was not in favor in “high art” circles.
Her paintings have not infrequently been described as belonging to the school of “Social Realism” – an umbrella term that has bracketed together artists who engaged extensively in social contexts, such as Naftali Bezem, Gershon Knispel, and others. Viewing her works makes clear the distinct difference between her paintings, which reveal a spontaneous element, and the products of the Socialist Realism that obey a rigid set of rules.
Works from the “Camels” series shown in the exhibition offer a non-stereotyped portrayal of the facial features and body structure of the camel, an animal generally associated with the Arab inhabitants of this country and with this region. Another work, Rhinoceros, was hung on Ruth Schloss’s studio wall, and may be interpreted as relating to topical contexts that are relevant for all times.
Three paintings in the exhibition were inspired by works from art history: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, after Picasso; Bandagings: After Van Gogh, which quotes that artist’s now legendary self-portrait; and Old Venus, a reclining nude inspired by Titian and others. Schloss’s radical depiction of this old woman challenges conventions of beauty, art and femininity.

In the paintings of her final period, Schloss engaged with the final stage of a human life, old age. The lines of drawing in them resemble fissures in geological layers, deep creases that life has imprinted on a human face, and they fill the entire canvas and structure the composition like a primeval landscape. The human being with all her or his weaknesses, blindness and fragility, who has been depicted in Schloss’s works without any concessions, is presented here in her or his essentially human presence by means of the structure of the face: a human being who is an entire life; a face that is a monument, if only because it is a human face.

Ruth Schloss

I Can Do Something With This

Curator: Galia Bar Or

May-August 2014

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