A review of Nathan Kirsh's exhibition in London

 A review by Roshnii Rose

{mosgoogle}   My first impression is that they bring the room to life. The six paintings, each on a metre squared of thickly painted white canvas, depict figures, who from a distance appear to be captured with photographic realism. Up close, however, the collection of rough brush strokes in a high contrast palette begin to merge into an abstract.

Mortal, finite; each embodies a different expression of connection to a longing for something greater than themselves. Each person faces outwards towards the edge of the canvas, engaging with a presence beyond their own objective reality.

As I spend time with each of the six paintings, I become aware that each creates a distinct sensation in my body and mind:

In Eve of Labour, the pregnant mother embodies a still patience; both receptive and accepting. Her form is rich in shape and shadows.

My Love, the self-portrait of the artist – an unmistakably 21st century hooded figure – expresses an intense gratitude, driven by a deep wanting for direction and a pin pointedness of mind.

In Surrender, the father, holding his newborn child to the sky, seems to be offering up this new life whose future is uncharted and unknown. The juxtaposition of the harshness of the man's shaved head and ear-piercing with the absolute trust and passivity of the baby's limp, sleeping body creates a weighty peace. 

Relationships portrays a couple whose warmth and intimacy is expressed in their comforting yet meditative embrace. The image suggests their connection to the Supreme via the relationship they have with one another; through the intertwining of their physical bodies and their combined quiet focus on an inner source of knowing.

Paradox – a lone male figure - exudes a sense of openness. Not only through his pose, with  arms outstretched to the heavens, but also with the blue-grey expanse of his shadow that sweeps across the canvas from the heels of his feet.

Waiting (alternatively called Dhyana) is the portrait that, at first sight, spoke to me the least. With a little time, however, I gain a stronger sense of the quality of the piece: the man is rooted to the earth but his mind is elevating towards a higher reality that is subtle and impalpable. 

I come away from the exhibition feeling quiet and reflective. It has left me with a sense of awe. The portraits remain in my mind's eye as expressions of the intensely human longing for connection to the deepest self.