The Magical Synthetic Realism of Ilana Raviv

”I am completely and sincerely convinced that the best criticism is amusing and poetic; not the other kind, cold and algebraic which under the guise of being all explanatory, voluntarily shuns any emotion … but regarding valid criticism, I expect philosophers to understand what I intend saying: in order for it to be deemed valid, in order to justify its existence, criticism should be partial, passionate and political; It should adopt an exclusive point of view, broadening its horizons as much as possible”. (Charles Baudelaire)

In order for this definition of art criticism – as expressed by the distinguished French poet to be tangible, the object of the critical observation should be a striking creation, exciting and inspiring. What we see before us today, is such a work, in all its facets and true to its word: it is a passionate and poetic creation, seeing that the aesthetic foundation of the universe of the Israeli painter Ilana Raviv is the same artistic foundation through which the painter – assisted by her intuitive conscience – creates different levels of reality, apart and distinguished from the reality which we usually

The paintings of Ilana Raviv are the fruit of her immediate inspiration, which the painter does not nurture to a level of consciousness and in their character, they are more in the realm of a vision, than a calculated intellectual analysis. This is a true, tempestuous outburst of creative force, generating powerful images which express the creative unrest surrounding the lyrical and intimate – such as the flower or the woman in their different manifestations, much like the visual pictorial creation of enigmatic archetypes of mythology, whose symbolic processing become more complex and like the plastic expressions which originate from the tragic history of her people.

For this exhibition, Ilana Raviv selected a series of paintings which glorify femininity in all its aspects, represented by female characters which have become mythological and which have inspired artists in all artistic spheres throughout all times: Eve, Cleopatra, Pandora, Ophelia, Leda with her swan, Lady Godiva, covering her glorious nudity with her own hair, Sheherazade, Alice in Wonderland all of which are represented in a new and unique picturesque vision.

In this display, the sublime essence of the Magna Mater is the source of feminine manifestations. Further than an attempt at rendering a tribute to Womanhood and Maternity, Ilana Raviv discloses the source of the creation which is inherent to her and her processes simultaneously: to sense the femininity which is expressed symbolically as the passive foundation of Creation, as the omnipotent soul of all creation which beats within the artist inherent to the higher rules which are inseparable to art – granting the privilege of creating new worlds.

Ilana Raviv defines her creation as ”synthetic realism” seeing that her works represent ”an alternate metaphor of reality” (I.R.). It is impossible to refrain from adding the word ”magical” to this definition, although her overall creation, which inclines so clearly towards the poetic within the beauty and poetry which is expressed in her familiar visual ”handwriting”, which is related to the expressionist heritage: Her painting is well defined, its descriptive lines flowing easily, in a flow seeking to realize itself, opening to other lines and intertwining with them in stylized forms, with much emphasis. Regarding the palette, the artist allows herself be seduced by the color sensuality. Her tone scale is governed by superabundance accompanied by a strong presence of black, and in this perfectly harmonized polyphony, the echo of a symphonic crescendo rejoicing in the Creation. The images, full of strength and creative passion, emerging from her overflowing fantasy, encompassing her own world vision, reflected in the broad canvases – the effervescent temperament of Ilana Raviv’s artistry requires large expanses – which are a genuine song of praise to intuitive art, welcoming ”partial, passionate and political criticism…” (C.B.), preparing it , justifying it and granting it its ”raison d’etre”.

Branka Berberijan
Art Critic (Spain)