Ofir Dor is a painter, a native of Israel residing in Berlin since 2007. Since graduating from his art studies at the Bezalel Academy in Israel, in 2004, he has been showing large-scale paintings in a lush expressivity, depicting men and women in situations derived from a subliminal zone of dream, the occult and sexual fantasy. Initially working in a more detailed technique, with scenes that bring to mind a dark underworld of esoteric cliques and subcultures – as could be seen in a large one-man show he showed at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art just 3 years following his graduation – his painterly style has evolved into a freeform expressivity that owes as much to abstract expressionism as to the lyrical abstract and other pioneers of Israeli modernism. His characters, often in the nude, confront the viewer with their naïve playfulness and unabashed sensuality, making their surroundings, whether actual interiors or dreamed-up Arcadian landscapes, into the backdrops of sexual escapade.
Woman with Mirror, Man with Camera
The paintings on show, executed between 2016–2017, feature couples in erotic situations rendered through a language where symbolism, the esoteric and art history intermingle, an inexhaustible source to Ofir Dor for ideas and inspiration. The mostly nude couples are located in the domestic setting of a bedroom or hotel room, or yet in some fantasized Arcadian nature. Equipped with ocular props such as a camera or mirror, they engage in a sex play of gazes and self-display, which to the outside viewer – taking the position of a voyeur – seems naively awkward.
They indulge in their nudity, posing for themselves and their partner as they try out different positions and revel in their image as reflected or gazed upon through a window, peephole or camera. In their knowing game of appearances and the uninhibited thrill of the gaze, the male and female participants bring to mind a topic from art history, that of the artist and his model, which Dor tackles with a contemporary twist. The nude male and female figures seem trapped in a magnetic field of attraction, of conflicting powers of push and pull that, especially given the paintings’ uncertain spatiality and muddy surface, threaten to throw them out of balance.
Dor employs a multitude of layers as he explores his subject matter, aiming towards a free and intuited painterly flow to express his candid and playful themes. With the body as the focal point of his work, the sensuality of the line brings out the liveliness of the flesh and a nearly childish exhilaration, together with a certain inadequacy and embarrassment. The freeform expression, as evident in the paintings, sensitizes the viewer and alerts them to the deeply sensorial realm of the body, the personal and interpersonal.
Ofir Dor – CV
Born in Israel, 1972.
Lives in Berlin, Germany
2004 Bezalel Academy of Art and Design and Hebrew University, Jerusalem MFA (Master of Fine Arts Degree)
2000 Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, BFA
1999-2000 The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, Visiting Scholar
1996 Beit Berl College, Hamidrasha School of Art, Beit Berl Certificate in Art
- Selected Solo Exhibitions
2015 “GirlyGirlyGirlGirl”, Circle 1, Berlin
2013 “Ofir Dor”, Fresh Paint 2013, Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv
2012 “Pregnant Mirror”, Lohame Hagetaot Kibutz’s Gallery, Israel
2011 “Mr. O and Mrs. I”, Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv
2011 “Oh!”, 95 Tor Strasse, Berlin
2009 “IOI”, Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv
2007 Helena Rubinstein’s Pavilion for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv
2005 Sadnaot Haomanim, Tel Aviv
2004 “Pastoral”, Julie M. Gallery, Tel Aviv
2003 “Water Hole”, Julie M. Gallery, Tel Aviv
- Selected Group Exhibitions
2015 “Don’t Shoot The Painter. Paintings from the UBS art Collection” Galleria d’Arte Moderna di Milano, Milan, Italy
2015 “Radial System”, Berlin
2014 “Five cardinal directions” Beit Uri and Rami Museum, Kibbutz Ashdod Jaakov, Israel
2010 “Portraits” Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv
2010 “Cockeye. Mail Nude in Contemporary Israeli Art”, Gal-on Art Space, Tel Aviv
2009 “Wild Exaggeration: The Grotesque Body in Contemporary Art”, Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa
2006 “Mixed Emotions”, Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa
2004 “Animal, Vegetable, Mineral”, Bezalel Gallery, Tel Aviv
2004 “Painting this Time”, Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art, Herzliya
2014 Residency, La Cité International des Artes with support from Institut Français, Paris, France
2005 Grant from America-Israel Cultural Foundation