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Yael David-Cohen at The Coningsby Gallery

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

AN EXHIBITION of work by Yael David-Cohen featuring paintings on found textiles and etchings, will be on display at The Coningsby Gallery – from Monday, June 2 to Friday, June 6, 2008.

Yael David-Cohen is an artist living and working in London but she was born in Jerusalem and graduated from the Tel Aviv Art School and the University of Tel Aviv. Her work at the time was abstract with strong use of colour.

Her pieces were also characterised by being unframed and showing the rawness of their unfinished edges. Most of the work was painting on canvas but as she experimented with larger scale pieces she began to use industrial textiles and rolls of paper that could be obtained in bigger dimensions.

The development in use of materials led to her choice of printmaking as her Postgraduate studies at the St. Martin’s School of Art, London. The style of her work was very abstract and colourful and while she was at St. Martin’s, she experimented with a technique in film animation pioneered by Norman Maclaren where inks and textures are applied directly to the surface of the film without using a camera.

This animation was very vibrant with bold shapes and lots of movement. Although she no longer uses animation there is still a strong feeling of ‘movement’ in her work.

Whilst David-Cohen’s work is often abstract there are often recognisable organic shapes and forms, reflecting her interests in Nature and Growth. She works very instinctively and responds to the features that the materials already have. Whilst she is adding colour or applying new fabrics to the surface of the work she says she feels more like she is getting inside the material and ‘excavating’ layers of colour and form that belong to the materials.

Not all her work has been large scale and she has produced several artist books using etching. One was a response to passages from the book Things by Georges Perec. Her work in this medium is not an ‘illustration’ or ‘visualisation’ of the narrative but more of an emotional response to the writing. The piece is presented as a box of collected prints.

David-Cohen has produced similar pieces that relate to the books of Jonah and Ecclesiastes from the Bible (one of which has been acquired by The British Museum). A new work based on the Book Of Ruth is currently in production. She has also had several solo and group shows both in London and abroad.

The Coningsby Gallery, 30 Tottenham Street, London, W1T 4RJ.