David Kassan – Solitudes, Gallery Henoch
In this splendid show, David Kassan’s realist – not photorealist – portraits (all 2013), including nine paintings, eight studies, and numerous drawings, captured and portrayed him, his family, and friends, as multidimensional characters. Set against gold or gray abstract backgrounds that often resemble street graffiti, his characters reveal themselves through their postures and facial expressions. Kassan observes his subjects, without passing judgment.
In Epilogue, a young woman floats against a gray background littered with large letters that don’t spell recognizable words. She wears a gray slip and looks troubled. She turns her face away from us and holds her shoulders back; her bony knees touch. She almost looks pinned against thebackground, like an insect in a scientific display. As with all Kassan’s individuals, she is not simply thoughtful, but is consumed by her thoughts. The painting A Letter to My Mom shows an older woman, with long curly red hair, standing with her heavily veined handsclasped. She wears a dark V-neck sweater and jeans. Her eyes are closed and downcast, her face wrinkled. Running above her head are the words in Hebrew that read, “This painting is my way to spend more time with you” The father in Portrait of My Dad appears less touched by sadness; his gaze kindly.
Kassan’s charcoal studies have an entirely different kind of intensity. Self Portrait Study is stark. Kassan looks straight ahead with dark circles under his eyes, a full expressionless mouth and deeply shaded cheeks.
For this moving show, Kassan created the substance of a novel without words.