Nir Hod, 100 Years Is Not Enough
1227 N Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Kohn Gallery is delighted to announce its second solo exhibition of Israeli-born New York-based artist Nir Hod. In 100 Years Is Not Enough, Hod’s artistic practice draws upon personal memory and traumatic historical events to elicit subtle tensions between the viewer’s expectations and the material reality of the painting surface. The title of the exhibition, 100 Years Is Not Enough, is taken from Hod’s naturalistic group of floral landscapes which employ similar elements from his distinct chromed, abstract canvases.
These new works present a masterful play between the profoundly illusionistic depth of the chromed, mirror-like surface that reflects the viewer and their surroundings, and the physical substance of the painting evidenced by the oil painted brushstrokes surrounding the chrome. The effect has an extraordinary impact precisely because of the two competing, yet completely compatible, major shifts in painterly perspective.
Hod’s notable chrome and oil paint canvas series, The Life We Left Behind, returns; this time informed by the larger context of the artist’s 20-year career. Hod applies a labor-intensive chrome technique over washes of oil gradient underpainting. The canvases are then carefully, sometimes brutally, manipulated by the application of ammonia, acids, air pressure, and soft brushes to remove sections of the chrome to expose the underpainting. In these new paintings, the artist has transformed his reflective canvases and by extension the viewer who—at the very moment of observation becomes integral to the subject matter—into highly aestheticized bodies. The finished paintings, with their vacillating pictorial depths of field, act as palimpsestic archives of beauty amid destruction.
These elements are further expanded upon in Hod’s titular series, which he describes as “a collage of nature.” The works appropriate and synthesize Claude Monet’s water lily iconography into dream-like interpretations of flora and various bodies of water. Thick impasto is layered over the chrome, taking upon the shimmering effect of sunlight on water.
New sculptures expand upon Hod’s signature themes of decay and nostalgia. I Miss You, a larger than life 14-foot sculpture composed of 2,000 melted Shabbat candles, piles up Jewish mysticism, sexual undertones, and scattered emotional debris into a monument of excess. Hod explains, “The candle represents memories, prayers, and wishes; the wax of a single candle is amassed into a monolithic structure.” Scratches of Butterfly features a curved, marble hand acting as a pin cushion for the lethal needle of a delicate butterfly specimen, capturing “human pain alongside the beauty and fragility of life, and the romanticism of two opposites coexisting.”
Each part of the exhibition flows into the other, as a glimpse into the past and a glance towards the future. To look at one of Hod’s paintings is to be reminded of the ephemerality of memory; how its construction and performance is ultimately malleable and subjective. As Hod says: “It doesn’t matter if the story is precisely true…it’s about you telling the story. It’s almost like going to a rock concert where the audience sings along with the performer. I want the viewer’s experiences to be echoed in the work as they are reflected back in the canvases.”
Nir Hod (b. 1970, Tel Aviv, Israel) lives and works in New York. He earned his BFA at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem and attended Cooper Union School of Art in New York City in 1991. Hod has had several solo exhibitions in the United States and abroad with his first show in 1996 at Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv. He has had solo exhibitions at Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv, Israel; The Museum of Israeli Art, Ramat Gan, Israel; Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, NY; Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York, NY; Gavlak Gallery in Palm Beach, FL; and Michael Fuchs Gallery, Berlin, Germany, among others. His work has been in numerous group exhibitions nationally and internationally from New York to London, Berlin, Vienna, and Israel. These include the Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel; Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; The Jewish Historical Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Martin-Gropius-Bau Museum, Berlin, Germany; Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, NY; The Jewish Museum, New York, NY; The Vienna Jewish Museum, Vienna, Austria; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; Yerba Buena Center for the Art, San Francisco, CA; Museum of Modern Art, Oostende, Belgium; The Flag Art Foundation, New York, NY; Marlborough Gallery, New York, NY; among others.