Closing One Eye

Uzi Tzur
Haaretz – Literature and Culture Supplement
Feburary 15th, 2002

Assaf Romano, “Shlomzion”, Kibbutz Nachshon Gallery

In the hub of an early springtime, with birds cooing among the leaves, amidst hills covered with anemones, between the mountains and the plains, and under pine and carob trees, the gallery in Kibbutz Nachshon presents the modest exhibition of Assaf Romano which is like a path he has laid out for himself to new and unknown areas in the field of painting. (He has previously presented black-and-white photographs of domestic avocado plants in the Haifa Museum and also in the pages of this supplement).

These abstract paintings are too close to the realistic abstracts of Richter, but they are more emotional than his: three circles and a small square of inflated wood as semi-objects, over which there seem to be layers of peeling plaster that expose manure color - and the viewers senses the pleasure of color and material. Among these hangs the long painting of the tiger Shlomzion, originally taken from a photograph in a newspaper, when the tiger was cured and released into nature and into the death that awaited it. Romano worked on the photograph and turned it into an imaginary frescoed figure in the Judaean Desert. Its stripes, like burnt coal, are luminous; its body is crouched and thin, its noble savage neck ringed with a thick collar (in which a transmitter was inserted) in contradiction between its free spirit and being tracked, marked – this is an outstandingly romantic painting of the highest artistic quality that is related to the abstract and creates a form that is at one and the same time both defined and amorphic.  On one side sketch drawings are hung that are not exactly connected with the rest of the exhibition. The shaft of an electric fan pierces an erased text; a classical-anatomical sketch of a woman’s legs, almost like those of a colt, that hold up a golden egg, and the rest of the page remains blank. This onset is enriched with beauty.