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Understanding Yigal Ozeri's world of photorealism

Yigal Ozeri’s photorealistic artworks diminish the gap between fantasy and reality. The artist is showcasing his works at the Bruno Art Gallery's booth at the India Art fair 2023.

There’s something magical about Yigal Ozeri’s artworks. They captivate your mind and diminish the gap between fantasy and reality. Look closely and you will see a man and a woman gazing right into your eyes.

Ozeri creates the magic with thin and thick brush stokes to highlight drama. The Israel-born artist focuses on attention to detail. Intricate elements such as hair, lighting, placement of furniture and materials scattered on floor are given importance.

Ozeri follows photorealism, a technique in which he uses photographs to paint artworks. He explains it as an idea of hyperrealism, and stresses that it is different from realism.

“In realism, the brush strokes are more expressive and abstract. However, I like creating images that are more realistic,” he says.

At the ongoing India Art Fair, Ozeri is showcasing portraits as well as landscape pieces created over a span of 10 years. There are two portraits in black and white and one in coloured format. One of them is influenced by American pop artist Chuck Close (in pic on left) and the other captures Ozeri's Indian model friend who lives in Columbia.

There is also a portrait of a Rajasthani spiritual man (in pic on right), who his photographer friend had captured in his camera a few years ago.

Photorealism began in 1970. During the early years, most artists projected 75mm pictures on walls and made paintings out of them. Photorealism was frozen. “Artists focused on still life paintings,” he says.

Over the years, this technique has transformed. Ozeri too relies on photographs but he transfers them to a computer and recreates their image digitally. He then makes some changes to the photograph by either removing or adding different elements to the frame.

“This is called erasing photography. I like adding emotions to my works and that’s why I involve human beings. I alter the elements in background to add drama to my pictures,” he shares.

In Chuck Close’s portrait, Ozeri followed the same practice. He placed a candle behind the American pop artist to highlight his most intricate facial hair. Likewise, in his works titled ‘Women in nature’, he altered some elements in the background while painting these women.

Ozeri’s showcase also includes his latest works ‘Americana’. These paintings focus on the life in New York.

“I have tried to capture real people in real moments. This is my way of showing the time I spent in New York City,” he shares.

One of the works feature a scene inside a shop at the Times Square station. “This shop was owned by an Indian man and one can see the imperfections in the form of items scattered on the floor,” he says.

Ozeri has also captured the beauty of a diner in bold colours. “There’s nothing special about that diner. It is near my house and I photographed it during the pandemic days,” he says.

Transition from abstract to photorealism

Born in 1958 in Israel, Ozari’s journey in art started as an abstract artist. But at time, artists in Israel were unaware about photorealistic art. It was after he moved to New York, he came across this concept. He then approached a few galleries in Spain, which helped him get familiar to the concept of realism in art.

He initially practiced realism and eventually transitioned to photorealism. Since then, there’s been no looking back. Ozeri has already exhibited his works in the U.S., Europe, Mexico, China and Israel.

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