Nogah Engler: Endless Night and Day
Oct 4 - Nov 17, 2007
Nogah Engler: Endless Night and Day
Nogah Engler
The Passage, 2007
oil and gloss paint on canvas
190 x 200 cm

Nogah Engler: Endless Night and Day

Ritter/Zamet is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of Israeli-born, London-based artist, Nogah Engler.  

Nogah Engler’s haunting landscapes tread the tenuous path between the idyllic and its dissolution. Drawing on nature’s endless cycle of life and decay as well as the destructive hand of man, her paintings embody the fragility of existence and the ultimate dichotomy of life/death that lies at the heart of the natural order. Although never directly depicted, the human presence is always implied and traces of man’s history are gradually disclosed across the layered strata of the painted field.

The oppositional elements of her subject matter are effectively manifested through Engler’s painting technique. She constructs a complex illusory space of interconnected zones of paint combining translucent washes of oil and gloss colour with areas of beautifully drawn, tightly rendered detail set against open voids of raw, blank canvas. By systematically creating and negating large areas of the painting’s surface, Engler speaks as much to what is not seen as to what is revealed through tangible objects and situations. The negative space is activated as a means to go behind physical presence and figurative interpretation to reach concealed human narratives and more specifically human atrocities. Indeed, if the cliché follows that time heals all wounds then for Engler it only functions to hide them just beneath the surface of things.

Nogah Engler’s new body of work began with a journey made into the heartland of the Ukrainian Galicia region in 2005. Drawing on written and word-of-mouth accounts left to her by her grandfather, she tracked down the village of Kosov and the dwelling where her father, uncle and grandfather remained in hiding for two years during the occupation and systematic massacre of Jews throughout the villages in the area during World War II. Although the final realisation of a place long-imagined enabled some emotional catharsis, it has only worked to further intensify her infatuation with a landscape that remains forever beautiful yet endlessly tarnished by its own history.  

Across an organic process of development and experimentation, each painting approaches this theme from different angles and perspectives and the effect within the frame of the gallery space is cumulative.  From tangled scrublands criss-crossed with berried brambles through frozen forests, broken fences and fallen trees, all paths seem to lead toward one fateful mountain. Throughout, animals act as innocent witnesses – whether as suitably ominous night creatures residing in dark, shadowy places, deer grazing quietly in clearings or as incidental sacrificial symbols. They, along with the flowers and berries that fight the odds and bloom through the permafrost stand as a hopeful testament to nature’s unswerving ability to re-generate and renew.  Day follows night and life inevitably begins again.

Since graduating from her MA in Fine Art from Chelsea School of Art in 2004, Nogah Engler showed in London for the first time in 2005 in Nogah Engler / Peter Stauss: new works on paper at Ritter/Zamet.  Since that time she has been included in numerous group exhibitions and has been short-listed for the Ill Castellón Painting Prize and the Celeste Painting Prize in 2006 as well as participating in the exhibition, Nogah Engler: Enchanted Forest, at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem (cat.). Endless Night and Day at Ritter/Zamet, London will be her first ever gallery solo exhibition. Next Year Nogah Engler’s work will be included in the Beijing Biennial.