Eyal Danieli at Elizabeth Harris

by James Wagner

We're big admirers of Eyal Danieli's work so I guess it was because we were out of the city and otherwise pretty distracted during the run of his fall show, "In the Mood for Love", at Elizabeth Harris that we very nearly missed it. I can't explain in any other way why we were reduced to arranging with the gallery via a weekend email to see the exhibition after it had officially closed, but so it was that Barry and I found ourselves visiting the gallery early on a recent Tuesday - beyond the last minute, but just in time.

We weren't disappointed. The beautiful installation managed to draw on all of the powerful themes Danieli has been pursuing in his work for years, but it also included some newer subjects and introduced one large-ish canvas, "Locate the Arab, Identify the Jew", whose style seemed to suggest an opening onto a new body of work. But maybe not.

These paintings come with music, but maybe that's just me. Sure, I'm listening to a recording of Wagner's "Götterdämmerung" right now, but that's just happenstance; they would furnish their own without any help.

I shiver with both delight and horror each time I look at these troublesomely "awesome", nearly-abstracted helicopters and bombers. I'm attracted to the texture and color of the oil and repelled by the terror represented by the outlines. Then, if try to get more comfortable with the other canvases, fragmented-text paintings and softer human or animal shapes representing the world below the killing machines, I don't find relief: I'm still almost afraid to get too close.

ADDENDUM: Element Editions has just released an edition of 16 unique (hand colored) prints by Danieli. They are available for $450. See Bloggy's post for an image and a link to the order page of this artist-run print-making studio.