The exhibition Evocative Surfaces is a site specific installation by the artist Beverly Barkat. Curated by Sally Haftel-Naveh, the exhibition comprising of works that include large-format paintings and drawings alongside site-specific installation work, is housed in different stanzas of the Museo di Palazzo Grimani’s second floor.
Entering into a close dialogue with the premise itself and its rich history, the works relate powerfully to the unique architecture and period furnishings of the palazzo, touching as well on the important collection of art and archeology it houses. In their vibrancy, color and magnitude, Barkat’s works echo and accompany the rich visual scheme of the decorations and wall paintings, which celebrate the Grimani family and the Venetian Republic at large.
“The site-specific installation made up of 12 painted PVC sheets, which opens the show in the first room, is progressively dissected in the stanzasto follow. The way the works are displayed offers in itself an accurate analysis of the potential inherent in painting, starting from the black and white pieces and moving onto more abstract ones, the vibrant colours of which exude a distinct sense of depth, smoothness and opaqueness of the main installation. Occasionally, the artist’s abstract gesture, charged with perfectly balanced and matched colours, gives way to more recognizable elements, such as a horse’s muzzle, one of the very few figurative details spotted in one of the pieces.“
Luciana Berti, art critic, Exibart
Haftel-Naveh describes Barkat’s painterly gesture as being rooted in a profound and ongoing dialogue with art history. The artist’s study and observation of the figurative and realistic tradition in Western art has resulted in an accumulating pool of knowledge that she draws on directly in her artistic practice. While basing herself on the traditional genre divisions as have existed throughout the centuries – landscape, still life, the human figure and the nude – Barkat shifts her subject matter into a subliminal world, imaginary spaces and finally resorts to abstraction. Fully employing the interplay of color, tonality, line, form and texture, she creates richly layered work in vigorous, dynamic compositions that seem to be bursting with energy while still touching on the lyrical and poetic.
Evocative Surfaces brings together a body of work that concerns itself with the intersection of the old and the new, with the coexistence of artistic genres and painterly modes of expression, and with a resonant interplay of surfaces, encompassing anything from the painterly to the three-dimensional. By creating an evocative space for this painterly encounter, Barkat’s work speaks pertinently to our present.