A House, Line and Memory

Artist Moria Bachar tells us about her memories from the Kibbutz and welcomes us into a constructed world of flat, acrylic paint.

Where are you originally from?

I am from Kibbutz Afikim, located in the Jordan Valley- three kilometers from the Sea of Galilee. Afikim is one of the largest Kibbutzim in Israel, and among the few that have built three-story buildings and not just land houses, as in most Kibbutzim. The Kibbutz grows dates, bananas, avocados, and citrus.

Where do you live and work today?

Ten years have passed since I left Kibbutz Afikim. I now live in Tel Aviv together with my two loved ones – my partner Shir and our cat Lolly.

 

My feelings about the Kibbutz are ambivalent, very loving and connected to the place, but at the same time, I always felt like I had no place there. Art, to me, was an inseparable part of (my) life and the “coloring corner” in kindergarten was my favorite quiet place.

Was your family supportive of your art practice?

Yes. In the Kibbutz, families share the same community life, sometimes even living in the same home together- this made everyone very involved in each others’ lives. My family lived alongside with my grandparents who were very supportive of my love for painting. I remember them buying me paint and drawing materials as well as hanging my work in their home. My grandfather was a carpenter and my grandmother was a seamstress. They were special people and they influenced me greatly all the way from childhood to adulthood.

'I break down their components and reinvent them back in my paintings- always the way I’d like to see them.'

Why are you passionate about painting?

I’ve always been a painter. There is something very accessible in painting- you don’t need a certain workshop or any special tools. Painting on canvas or paper can be done in the most intuitive way.

How did this passion begin?

The simplicity of the Kibbutz’s lifestyle had me share everything I owned. Like clothes, games and sometimes even food. It wasn’t always easy, but through painting, I was able to dream and wander alone in my own wide mind to other places. It was very relieving, like a little kingdom of mine. I believe I still paint for the same reasons I did when I was a kid. 

 

What are your inspirations?

I am mostly inspired by the surrounding of my childhood and the memories I’ve created in places from the past. I try to combine both the vague and unclear memories with the actual scenery, re-organizing them again and again in my paintings. It’s those visions of the past that interest me, I find myself always coming back to them.

The art that influenced me the most was the art I grew up to on the Kibbutz. This type of art came to serve the faith and worldview of the Kibbutzim movement, usually influenced by communist and fascist elements. Their works and graphic promotions are very bold in order to pass their message- I am driven and inspired by this style. 

The painting process, almost feels like I’m reconstructing the past, re-making objective history. I “clean up” the disturbance of details and people, leaving the canvas with fine structures and neat color blocks. It’s always the Israeli architecture and graphic art that I am drawn to.

What does a day in your life look like?

Being a painter is like being a hard worker- I get dressed in dirty work clothes and go to work in the studio. Today, when my studio is at home, I make a lot of effort separating my personal life and work life. I feel like I have to come clear-minded to the painting, so the first few hours are sort of like a ritual of putting aside daily chores and thoughts. First, I blend and mix the colors. That act of mixing and smelling colors gets all my senses involved in a very soothing way.

 How do you start a painting? What is your working method?

I work in either of two ways: the first one is figuring out the right colors scheme I’d like to use, and then I think of an image to fit the vibe of the palette. The second method is exactly the opposite- I find the right image (either from my memory or found imagery) and then I decide on the right colors.

Starting with 2 or 3 layers of light color on canvas (but not completely white), which helps me feel like the fabric is already alive. It’s easier to begin painting this way. If the painting starts with an image, I draw with light chalk on the canvas. If the painting starts with colors,  I will make the colors for the painting before everything and then start with composition.

 What materials do you work with?

I have been working with acrylic paints for 4 years now and for me, there’s no way back to oil paints. There is something very immediate in acrylic paint, also in the way it dries, that plays an important part in my paintings.

Is there a gap between the beginning and the end (the finished work)?

There are always huge gaps between mental imagery to the final painting. Usually, even while still in the process, I already know whether I am pleased or not. That gap can be embodied in the color that doesn’t sit right or by two lines that interfere.

'The personal difficulties in the work process are between you and yourself (like overthinking and self-evaluation) the external difficulty is the art world and its morbidity.'

 What is the most difficult part of being an artist?

Being an artist is not always a piece of cake, as most people think. There are a lot of economic struggles and it’s hard to think about making a living before making art.  It’s those things in life you just have to accept and do the best you can to do both. 

Was there ever an interesting story you had with a collector who purchased your work?

A few years ago, I exhibited in ‘Fresh Art’ art fair, a painting of a children’s slide that was in my Kibbutz – it was a very graphic painting of slides that were in the Kibbutzim. The person who bought the painting told me these slides were manufactured in her Kibbutz and she felt like the painting had to be hers.

'It always pleases me to see the different connections people have with art.'

Which artwork, style or artist are you drawn to the most (not necessarily yours)?

I am a fan of Leo Roth’s paintings – an Israeli painter who lived and worked in Kibbutz Afikim and gave the Kibbutz members free paintings to hang in their homes. Jasper Jones was and still is one of my favorite painters.