Guy Yanai’s solo exhibition, Lived & Laughed & Loved & Left at La Montagne gallery is a show of paintings corresponding to recent photographic technologies in mobile devices.  Looking through his iPhone, Yanai is always taking notes of things he sees in the world around him by making pictures. With this information he begins to build his paintings. - Anthony Palocci Jr., Boston Contributor

Drive In, 2013 oil on linen 40 x 40cm photo courtesy of La Montagne Gallery

Italy 2010, 2013 oil on linen 40 x 40cm photo courtesy of La Montagne Gallery

The paint is applied predominantly with horizontal lines, like an old television with a bad signal.  All the colors are thoroughly mixed and make up simplified, blocky forms with no distinction between hard and soft surfaces; they are all the same in these paintings.

Considering the rigidity of the lines, and the careful placement of strokes, there is evidence of decisions made within the work; they feel considered, and not merely executed in a single shot.

Installation shot, courtesy of the artist

The work provides a glimpse of David Hockney in Yanai’s palette and eye.  Hockney, looking to the 1970’s swimming pools and homes of the West Coast, displayed an interest in technology and abstraction as well. From the use of synthetic, polymer, acrylic paint to his more recent iPad paintings, Hockney becomes sort of a father figure in pursuing painting and experimentation with technology. Yanai comes at it from a different perspective, rather than using new technologies in the application of “paint”, he is simply making paintings of them.  Is what we see when we look at a Guy Yanai painting what we think we see? For example, is that a painting of a house plant? Or is what we are seeing actually what he is looking at, a screen?

Ahad Haam II, 2013 oil on linen 100 x 100cm photo courtesy of La Montagne Gallery

Spring, 2013 oil on linen 100 x 100cm photo courtesy of La Montagne Gallery

What is compelling about the work is it’s ability to stand on it’s own without relying on the process for it’s validation.  Disconnected from the screen and reaffirming the painted surface, not limited to becoming tools or illustrations standing in for an idea.  They remain fully realized outside of their conceptual context.  This is seen in Spring, with two high chroma triangles painted on top of a gray mid tone.  Through the gray haze there are other forms visible, an earlier painting perhaps? Or is this a glitch in the metaphoric printing process, a piece of paper that was put through the laser jet for a second time.  The relationship here is that of the painted surface and the screen, the linen or canvas with its weave and the glass tablet with its pixel.  The way the weave grips the paint and takes it off the brush to the organization of color and then, image with tiny squares under a touch screen.  The information making up the image is synthesized, taken apart and put back and creates a mediated form.  The exhibition is up through August 28th.

Installation shot, courtesy of the artist

Installation shot, courtesy of the artist


Guy Yanai is an artist who lives and works in Tel Aviv, Israel.  He studied at Parsons School of Design, Pont Aven School of Art, Pont-Aven France, the New York Studio School and Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. Yanai has exhibited in Israel, Europe and the United States.

Anthony Palocci Jr. is an artist who lives and works in Boston, MA. He received his MFA from Pratt Institute in 2012. He has contributed writing to artcritical.com and New American Paintings.


Recent posts

Thursday, December 22, 2022 - 18:17
Tuesday, August 3, 2021 - 15:19
Friday, June 26, 2020 - 13:03
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 14:02
Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - 14:55