December 05, 2014

Tauranga Cottleston Gallery 5 December Opening night


Essay for Yaniv Janson's 'Bees In Trees' Exhibition. Cottleston Tauranga. 
By Katherine Steeds

Yaniv Janson's works 'Bees in Trees' are dominated by horizontal lines and blue and green open spaces. On his large square canvases, squared off mountains, ponds, and lollipop trees are arranged with an apparent naïve simplicity, yet closer contemplation reveals sophisticated size and placement choices which are used to create the illusion of great depth within the picture plane. Objects cut by the edges of the fames hint at what landscapes continue beyond, outside our view, but allow us to decide for ourself what they might hold.  Rubbed back acrylic textures also subtly suggest recession: areas of flat colour draw attention with almost a sense of relief to these small unevennesses, where the thick pigment has been applied then scrubbed off again to reveal the glow of ground beneath through the thinner colour.
People are here, implied by their outdoor furniture, windmills, and neat rows of vegetables and fruit trees, and they live compactly in tall apartment houses set in expansive parks and gardens. But they are never to be seen, for nothing moves, not even the bees which are hidden in their nests, hanging tidily like yellow and black lanterns in trees. Trees that grow in rows, on islands, singly on hills or flanking Janson's fairytale idealised world where the viewer's imagination can travel at its own pace, through half-remembered holidays and over lovely, gentle lands under clear bright skies. Quirky things might happen here. Castles are made of gold. And there is always time for picnics and long walks in green serene fields and leisure to enjoy the views that stretch almost unimpeded to the ever-present far horizontal sea's edge. The paintings evoke a tamed and farmed world in which the needs of people, plants and bees might exist co-exist in perfect harmony. Yet there are hints that all is not right, for example with that sea-level lapping alarmingly high on those tiny, funny little idyllic islands with their precious, golden homes.
Janson's large naive paintings from his 'Bees in Trees' series are unique. They look simple, yet are rich, worthy of contemplation, and worth getting lost in.