ISRAELPaintings by Marina Levitan
Words by Marina Levitan
February 26, 2022
For me, painting is a tool that helps me understand the reality around me, examine it and communicate my understanding with the world. Reality, reflected in me, is internalized and processed within me and finds its way into painting. Because my painting clings to reality and its interpretations, it is mostly figurative, but in the last year, following the influence of external reality and my concentration on reflections and playing with light, my works have become more and more abstract.
I strive to find harmony in the simple things that surround me and show those things from an unexpected and interesting angle, to surprise myself, and with the help of painting to discover something new every time. I find poetry precisely in the trivial, banal things that we are used to not paying attention to. The biggest challenge for me is to capture that one unique, special and irreversible moment, and distill its essence, its uniqueness. If it is an ongoing work, in every “session” of painting, lasting several hours, I strive to capture the fleeting moment, to live it and understand it, to be here and now. I explore the home space and look for interesting angles and reflections that will inspire me. I scatter objects in the home space and wait until they reveal their hidden side to me - maybe when a ray of light falls from the window at the right angle.
In my early works I concentrated more on the open space, that is, I painted urban landscapes: I went out to paint outdoors, and the sense of space I breathed in when being out there, I took with me to the works of still life that I did in the studio. In the past year I have only started working indoors due to the inability to leave the house, and the landscapes I have drawn or incorporated into my works have been the landscapes I can see from my window. The confinement at home changed my day-to-day work practice. Part of my morning warmup routine is to capture the moment each day and present a sequence of moments in a few days in a row.
I am currently working on a series of works exploring the subject of reflection. The reflection can be in the mirror or in any surface that allows it - a window or table, glass and the like. Watching a reflection for me is like peeking into the parallel world, where everything is reminiscent of our world, but different. Reflected objects look different, showing their lesser-known sides. What interests me here is finding the boundaries between the worlds, between the reflection and the reflected, and where those boundaries blur.
I work in oil colors and charcoal. The oil colors give space to the process, a physical expression of time, and allow great versatility at work, giving room for change and play. Coal also allows this, albeit in a slightly different way.
I love the childish and playful part of the process, and play with shapes and objects as if I were assembling a puzzle - moving and changing, until I feel that all the pieces of the puzzle connect in the most appropriate way to this moment in my life and thus perpetuate the moment. The next day, if I get up and continue the same work, I open things up again and start a new game. Thus, most of my works undergo countless changes until I feel I have reached a certain level of perfection.
In the last two years I was confined to my apartment, because my child is in the risk group and I didn't want to endanger her. Most of my usual activities weren't available for me. And if previously I used to go outside with my easel in search of inspiration, now my approach to work has changed. All motives available to me had shrunk to what can be seen inside my studio or from my studio window, spiced by my imagination.
About The Artist
Marina Levitan is an Israeli based artist. Born in the USSR, at the age of 16 she moved to Israel. Marina graduated from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem in 2004. In 2014 she graduated from Jerusalem Studio School, a private painting school by Israel Hershberg. She lives and works in Jerusalem. Her works explore scenes and situations from everyday life, in the crossing of which something new and unpredictable is born. She is seeking those exciting moments.