One to Watch

Noa Charuvi

Born in Jerusalem, Israel, Noa Charuvi received an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and a BFA from the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem. Her artwork has been featured in many group shows in New York and Israel, including the Bronx Museum, and she was awarded participation in Art Omi International Artists Residency in 2012.

War and conflict are her main subjects; she paints abstracted and ruined houses in Gaza, which come to signify the struggle between Israel and Palestine. Her compositions, with their strong brushstrokes and bold blocks of color, are at first indistinct, before the subject of each painting comes into focus. Noa’s painterly description of bombed or bulldozed houses becomes a visual representation of the horrifying events that can take place in war-torn nations.

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?
The major themes in my work are inspired by my place of origin, my current environment, and how the two converge in the process of painting from observation.

As Ms. Naomi Lev–who recently curated my show in Brooklyn–wrote in our press release, I grew up in Israel, and through my art I reflect upon the complex situation in that region. I also reflect upon the moral responsibility that I carry as both a citizen and an artist. I use images from the news where there is an attempt to create an objective standpoint, and then I share my subjective stance through personal and empathetic brushstrokes and a deliberate emphasis on a seductive color palette.

In a new series of patterns taken from Tiles in Samarkand and Morocco, I combine views and aspects of my current urban environment with the ancient aesthetics of the area that I come from. Finding a connection between the two realities is part of the adaptation process, which brings together places, traditions, and cultures that can encompass the complexity of time.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
My mentor and employer, Marilyn Minter, once said to me, “Regret is useless.”

Prefer to work with music or in silence? 
It varies. When I do something very technical, I enjoy listening to the radio or podcasts, but when I am very focused I need silence. I find that music influences my painting a lot–sometimes I do welcome this influence, and sometimes I need to keep it out.  

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
That is a very tough question. I do own art by my colleagues, and I see so much art that I would love to own! If I could own anything at all I would love a work by Matisse.

Who are your favorite writers? 
I read all of John Irving’s books. Lately I’ve been really into Aleksandar Hemon and Jennifer Egan. In Hebrew, I love the Israeli authors Ronit Matalon, Yehudit Katzir, and David Grossman.