Hurly Burly

 

'Hurly Burly': a commotion or uproar, words proclaimed by one of the three witches in the opening scene of Shakespeare’s play 'Macbeth'. These words roll in the mouth, again and again, but the meaning is obscure. The phrase popped up, derived from memories connected to the sound-track surrounding Raya as she worked in her studio for the exhibition.

 

Imagine a pendulum hanging from the ceiling of the exhibition space, quietly moving in a steady rhythm. This hidden image may remind us of the pendulum shape that appears in one of the oil paintings (untitled), an image which can enhance the experience of viewing the exhibition.


On the far wall opposite the entrance are three distinct works; three ready-made panels, hanging side by side, each panel with an object attached to it, each object distinguished by its shape.

The precise nature of the ready-mades makes the history of the objects redundant, and thus it is the works themselves that stimulate thoughts about form and context. The viewer is able to make a connection between the works and the varied worlds of his imagination: symbols of noble families carved in stone found in fortresses, decorations on the shields of warriors, flags, or a deck of shuffled cards.

 

The central piece of the triptych - a dark-blue shape with a silver triangle, divided by a rod with a golden thread carefully coiled around it – is a work that has something to tempt us, something that may cause us to pause and focus our gaze. The atmosphere of the exhibition, with its echo of turmoil and commotion, here reaches a point of stability.

 

Along the two side walls are hung oil paintings. On the right, attached to the wall, is a golden triangle; to the left is a high narrow table on which are placed drawings on paper.

 

The triangle shape recurs in several works in this exhibition. The golden triangle has a solid base and an apex which points upwards. This triangular shape is composed of identical rounded units, attached to the wall, one beside the other.

By choosing to fix them Raya has eliminated the mobility of each individual unit.

 

These landmarks lead us to enter more deeply and to observe more closely the oil paintings. Raya Manobla paints on canvas mounted on boards. The surface is hard and affects the work of the artist’s hand. The physical thickness of the underlying surface, the side of the wood panel, is part of the work. The process of painting is slow, beginning with placing shapes and patches of colour, and examining the relations between them. Thus a composition emerges on the canvas. The act of painting includes a spectrum of movements, materials, textures, working with the fingertips and a wide range of tools.

Out of this rich environment and activity, images emerge and are transformed into the subjects of her paintings.

 

The creative process demands a fresh look at the act of painting, and a readiness to make changes until the moment when the artist feels that the work is complete.


Talia Tokatly