Thelma rosner

Concern about national and religious conflict in the Middle East has been the subject of my work for the last decade.

All Israelis and Palestinians are entitled to justice, freedom and a decent life. Despite the huge inequalities on the ground, achievement of equality and dignity should remain a realistic hope.  Light- dark reversals and the doubling of images or words are structural strategies in my work that indicate both connection and opposition.  Issues of conflict, oppression, suffering and national aspiration are not particular to the Middle East, as we all know. My more recent work addresses broader human experience and the tolls of war.

Cross Stitch paintings: 2010- ongoing

This group of large paintings (8' x 6')  refers to people’s struggle to endure, despite the nightmare of conflict. The slow, labourious process mirrors the desire for domestic stability in the face of war and destruction. To my mind, the paintings reflect the plight of innocents, their patience, hope and also despair, in their struggle to survive under siege.

The patterns in these paintings are largely invented, but are influenced by Afghan war rugs and Palestinian embroidery. The works are painted over the entire surface with small, regular marks (3/8" square) based on the embroidered cross stitch. This physical repetition is a metaphor for the effort to anchor and protect ordinary life, despite violence and displacement.

The all-over patterning of early paintings gives way to areas of abstraction, and finally complete abstraction, still rendered in cross stitch marks. These later works are an alternative way of suggesting the upheaval and fear experienced by those who are endangered by conflict. 

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