Dana Harel’s first museum exhibition in the U.S. presented a new series of work, Between Dreams and Nightmares. The series was drawn from the artist’s relationships to the men in her family and ties to military life: “As an Israeli female soldier, a daughter of a soldier, a wife of a soldier, and a mother of a young sensitive male, I have witnessed men in their most intimate and tender moments, sometimes in the most unexpected of places. I draw on this experience and perspective in my work, sifting through the memories and truths that have shaped me as a woman…”
Between Dreams and Nightmares consisted of mixed media drawings of strongly lit figures with deep shadows, all distorted in one form or another. They are a reflection of the messiness of war and its effects on the survivors: “When gladiators depart the ring or soldiers return from battle, they must suppress their inner animal, but the reptile brain, having being stimulated for so long does not sleep easy.”
The exhibition also included Wrestling with God, a large-scale drawing that stems from the narrative of Jacob wrestling an angel in the Book of Genesis. Harel references this ambiguous moment as a way of illustrating the male psyche in a place of perpetual war. Harel uses boxing and wrestling images marked by moments of tenderness.
Exhibition support for ex·pose: dana harel was generously provided by Igal and Diane Silber, Pat Tourk Lee, and the Contemporary Collectors Council.
Dana Harel was born in 1970 and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel. She currently works in San Francisco. She received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts. In 2009, Harel was a recipient of the Irvine Fellowship at the Montalvo Arts Center Residency Program. During the residency, she was the stage designer for the opera Conference of the Birds Unfeathered, which debuted at the Mondavi Center for the Arts at UC Davis and the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California. Her recent solo exhibitions have been at Gallery Wendi Norris in San Francisco, and Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art in Herzliya, Israel. Harel’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California; San Jose Contemporary Art Institute in San Jose, California; Napa Valley Museum in Napa; Root Division in San Francisco; and Gen Art in San Francisco.
ex·pose is a contemporary art program curated by Grace Kook-Anderson, curator of contemporary art at Laguna Art Museum. ex·pose features rotating exhibitions focusing on one emerging or mid-career artist at a time. The program aims to present a diverse range of artists working in all mediums, and encourages artists to create new work.
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