Summerdose: Yam Shalev
Cuturi Gallery is proud to present Summerdose - a debut solo exhibition by Yam Shalev (b. 1996, Israel). Having lived in Berlin, Shalev draws inspiration from his everyday surroundings. In his entirely new selection of works, the artist navigates through mementos of Berlin culture through his stylish take on still-life paintings.
A self-taught artist, Shalev’s body of works is primarily inspired by his surroundings and the people around him. Regarding himself to be more of an observer rather than a participator, Shalev finds comfort in documenting his surroundings and transferring emotional situations onto the canvas. Moving away from his home in Israel, the artist decided to live in Berlin to pursue his artistic endeavors. Having experienced the passing of winter to summer, Shalev describes the initial stages of this series of paintings as a self-care project. The artist reflects on his works as an attempt to move past the gloomy winter hiatus he was experiencing. As though changing along with the seasons, we see Shalev’s introspective nature and state of mind through ripe fruits, plenitude of food and opulence of colours.
Shifting away from his usual hyper-realistic style of making art, the artist sought to return to his roots of painting with acrylic. Employing a technique of loose and precise brush strokes, Shalev creates a layer of depth in his works that is a semblance of the weight of his experiences. The artist confesses of going through several transformative events before the summer and claims this was his attempt to get back into the joy of creation through painting.
Sunglasses, cigarette boxes and mats adorned with decadent food, Shalev’s delicious canvases evoke a youthful glow of contemporary life. Although devoid of human presence, the juxtaposing tones and layers in his canvases beams of life. Visually vibrant in nature, his paintings also elicit a sense of mysteriousness about the narrations that run beyond the borders of his paintings. Painting in a way that only gives us fragments of a version of the bigger picture, Shalev teases with our imagination to leave us with room for inserting our own stories. As much as his paintings are reflections of the life around him, the artist is also interested in the emotional responses one is transported to feel when looking at his body of works.
More than just a visual feast, there are undertones of a sense of longing in Shalev’s works. The artist expresses about a previous relationship that had ended unfavorably in his first exhibited poem, Summerdose (2021) and his play on the word “undoubedly” .
In the summer,
when the colors
we will sit
In my summer,
when I will wake up
and you will
Believing that poetry is an art form that yields another form of depth, Shalev describes this poem as one that concludes the exhibition fittingly. The artist explains “mistaking the execution of the spelling comes from a place where I don’t know what the word undoubtedly even means because the whole situation of the relationship was complicated.”
Summerdose will be on view at Cuturi Gallery from 6 November to 21 November 2021.
Text by Allysa De Silva.
Yam Shalev, Anyone can be cool here, especially in the summer, 2021
Yam Shalev, It sounds like the 60’s and smells like the future, 2021
Yam Shalev, It’s less about the food and more about the company, 2021
Yam Shalev, Nudist beach, seafood and sangria and I will love you forever, 2021
Yam Shalev, One month of homelessness and you’ll get it sweet again, 2021
Yam Shalev, Summerdose, 2021