Tel-Aviv based artist Esther Naor’s work—on view as part of a recent solo show Aftermath at Stux + Haller Gallery—addresses reverberating themes such as immigration, pain, terror, and the current global Refugee Crisis. Coming from a complex history and cultural heritage—an Iraqi Jew whose parents immigrated to Israel in the early days of its statehood—Naor’s personal history informs her work.
Many of Naor’s subjects appear to be floating or suspended, as if trapped in an uneasy sense of place. Their lack of context—stark backgrounds, close cropped shots—creates the illusion of timelessness. “Timelessness is relevant here, but it’s mostly a way of distilling moments, ideas, images, and emotions—without connecting them to concrete situations and contexts. Although there are concrete roots and sources to many images and situations that I create, I like to leave the final installation open as much as I can. When all the answers are there, I find the result obviously less interesting,” she explains.
Naor often incorporates a range of unusual media (casts of human heads, syringes, ready-made stretchers) as part of her sculptures and installations. Witches are another fascination for Naor. “I believe that witches were invented by men who needed to control women, and chose to expel those rebellious women who “endangered” the man’s dominance to the margins of their societies. Regardless of whether those women were/are feminists or not, the very act of condemning them is an anti-feminist act, while expelling, or worse, prosecuting