Living Mirrors, curated by Charlotte Eytan
November 16—December 16, 2022
The telescope structures of the 200 eyes of the scallop are described as “living mirrors,” which I was drawn to as such a radically different way of seeing and sensing the world. I like this reference because I enjoy looking at things that open up or challenge assumptions around how to perceive and imagine the world. I like the ideas it holds as a metaphor relating to multitude, variety, self-reflection/inner world/unknown, vision, sensitivity, otherness... It also connects and contrasts to the idea of the sea as a source of stillness, since having 200 eyes seems to us perhaps like a chaotic ‘information overload.’—Gal Schindler
A mirror stands as the reflection of a perceived world—an emblem that is simultaneously familiar and uncanny. In legends and myths, mirrors represent a portal into a parallel universe and diverging levels of reality. The same can be said of Gal Schindler’s oeuvre, which abounds in these contradictions: obscurity and exposure, reality and imagination, life and death, abstraction and figuration, attraction and repulsion, wit and seriousness—all of which have come to govern the systems of humanity as a whole. Gal centers her practice on these unbound in-betweens. Inhabiting the abstract language of art through the materiality and tonalities of paint, Gal transcends our everyday realm of representation and consciousness. It is in the act of painting that she reaches a balance within the symbolism and paradoxes of women, the creation of nature, the ocean, and its objects.
There is a sense of playful negotiation that characterizes Gal’s practice. Woven swirls of colors form an abstract and harmonious layering of hues and tints. Sweeps of color are laid down with the frenetic movements of paint applied using coarse brushes alongside the more intricate brushstrokes found in the depictions of seashells. She reworks multiple layers, covering some areas before the paint dries. Fissures emerge where the paint has clumped together. Gal transforms these dualities by forcing them to coexist within the confines of a subject or object; taking hold of the instabilities and element of surprise contained in her material. Giving way to a whole new area of activity and perception, we are confronted by a series of works that push us to probe what is seen and unseen. Out of this gestural melee, a commanding figure emerges.
These figures seem to be daydreaming, others watching, judging, seducing, or simply gazing outward. The works allude to classical precedents found in the erotic drawings of Picasso, de Kooning's Woman series, and the elongated figures of Schiele or Toulouse-Lautrec. Yet their fluid forms—malleable, innumerable, unfinished, unbelievable—cannot be possessed. Rather, stripped bare, Gal’s images are reflections of what you know, what you have experienced, and what you are about to embark on. Energy is rendered in paint and the artist’s figures stir deep regions of the soul, slipping in and out of immediacy. Like spirit entities utilized as a channel for communication, her figures emerge as the medium of paint in and of itself.
Gal’s painted world is reminiscent of the nineteenth century with its ghosts and clairvoyants (after which one of the paintings takes its title). Then, the afterlife epitomized the sacred waiting room where spirits continued to live after death, ever changing, evolving, and communicating as they always did. In life, we grow and change many times; and our bodies and consciousness change almost every day. This knowledge is palpable in the ever-acting surface and twisting force behind Gal’s brush.
Gal Schindler was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and lives and works in London, where she studied at the Royal College of Art and The Slade School of Fine Art. Schindler’s work has been presented in exhibitions at Ginny on Frederick, Sapling, The Perimeter, MAMOTH, and Barbican Arts Group in London; The Artist Room gallery and Daulang Gallery in Seoul; and at East Contemporary in Cote d’Azur, France. Her work is in the permanent collections of The Perimeter, London and Fundación MEDIANOCHE0, Spain.
Charlotte Eytan is an independent curator, writer, advisor, and Director of Particle Foundation; working with emerging artists, museums, and private collections. She has held positions as a Director for Maximillian William in London and a writer/cataloguer at Christie’s in the Post-War and Contemporary Department. Her recent written contributions include an essay for Coco Capitan’s book Naivy, various commissioned texts for Phaidon’s PRIME publication on artists under the age of forty, an interview with Sophie Von Hellerman for the Debutante, and a text for The Greatest Magazine.
Allen & Eldridge is located downstairs at James Fuentes gallery, presenting atmospheric introductory exhibitions and collaborations. Following its first generation of programming from 2015-2017, the space relaunches in the summer of 2022 with a series of solo and group projects programmed by the gallery and invited curators, led by Laura Brown.