Painting in line with the material
The artist Moshe Hai ben Menashe has taken a revolutionary path from his surrealistic folklore work to modernist painting.
He revives old dry paints on his palette and they dictate his work. He plays with them as if they were Rorschach stains, hiding abstract forms between their folds. The dry material becomes a base that calls the new color to change, to appear out of the canvas and to observe, to search for hidden elements beyond the stains: human faces, a lamb, pigeon or masks.
These strong works all “scream” as if out of a storm of contradicting and complementing colors; definitely conveying that he is following German expressionism.
In the painting “Woman with a red ribbon” one cannot help being reminded of Emil Nolde with his distorted figures.
Here the dominating ochre color escapes from the canvas dictating the movement, while the red ribbon provides the completing touch.
The three other paintings emphasize even more Ben Menashe’s affiliation to the “Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider)” or “Die Brücke (The Bridge)” group at the beginning of the 20th century, where we witnessed Franz Marc, Erich Heckel and Kirchner.
The motto of the artist until today was “painting resembles mute poetry”, today ben Menashe’s paintings can be defined as poems with presence, screaming.
The Essence of Society: a Poetic Dimension. Moshe Hai Ben-Menashe
Dr. Zvika Israel
Translation: Naomi Yalin
Emotion and Cognition in Creative Production
"Art alone makes life possible - this is how radically I should like to formulate it. I would say that without art man is inconceivable in physiological terms. Man is only truly alive … when he realizes he is a creative, artistic being. I demand an artistic involvement in all realms of life. … Whereas I advocate an aesthetic involvement from science, from economics, from politics, from religion - every sphere of human activity. Even the act of peeling a potato can be a work of art if it is a conscious act." Joseph Beuys, Energy Plan for the Western Man ( 1993, 87).
Josef Beuys, believed that everyone can be an artist and that each individual has a creative soul. This creative potential is found both in the individual and in society, in their philosophy and productivity, in research and discovery, as new paths are forged, tearing through traditional barriers, sharing in the creation of knowledge or in creative activity in general.
Strokes, pats and breaths
Creative thinking as a way of living and expression characterized the artistic work of M.H. Ben-Menashe, who using a traditional oil and acrylic technique on canvas with strokes of a classical brush, pats and blowing, conjuring up his subjects from a sort of dialogue between the past and the present. He sees the classical painting technique as the foundation for any artist who aspires to paint. The blowing technique, unique to Ben-Menashe, which he used to create specially shaped figures on fresh paint, employed specially mouth movements to create the blowing spray. Thus too the application of pats on the canvas is slightly processed to form different figurative components, such as people and animals.
Like the jigsaw puzzle of life
Ben-Menashe's studies in the Antwerp Academy, Biblical sources, history of classical and modern art and consideration of the 'here and how' are interwoven in his many composite works, emanating from a philosophical discourse on life in the Middle East, reporting in a critical manner on the complex and complicated reality in Israel. Ben-Menashe intelligently and intuitively integrates many fragments of reality in his realistic painting technique, especially human figures and animal, assembling them as he defines it in the 'puzzle' of life to form a composite surrealistic feeling subject-focused creation, mostly inspired by Biblical stories and present-day reality. The creative works of Moshe Ben-Menashe abound with meaning and are constructed layer on layer, necessitating in-depth observation by the audience.
Interpersonal and Social Dialog
Ben-Menashe's products include social themes, interlaced within a dialogue with the self and personal contents, the result of his complex and experiential observation of his environment, thinking and drawing conclusions. For Ben-Menashe art is the most meaningful means to reinforce perceptual ability without which creative thinking cannot exist in any area. This is seen in his work in the field of diamonds where he applied his creative approach to enhancing expertise in cutting and faceting, transforming the rough diamond into the polished product. His art is created in a synthesis of emotion and thought, a pleasurable and deep experience for the observer. In August 2010, Ben-Menashe exhibited a retrospective exhibition of his many canvases in the Picasso Gallery of the Castra Arts Center in Haifa, entitled: 'Silent Poem', under the auspices of the International Cultural Union. His self-explanatory works display a uniquely authentic and colorful visual voice.