About My Self
Alexander Bogen


Standing in front of the white canvas, I begin the struggle with colour, composition and cadence with no preliminary outline nor certainty of the outcome. During my early years of euphoria and deep-felt impressions of the power of nature, I would paint portraits of friends, artists, public figures and ordinary people - laborers, tradesmen at the market and so on.

The white canvas is a limitless expanse with no borders. I begin with an energetic sweep of strong brush strokes. Using the spatula and other tools of my trade. I strive for a rich and varied texture on the canvas. My creative emotions are harnessed to my artistic perceptions and professional experience.

However, this is a mixed blessing, as I pay a high price for my spontaneity and choice not to plan ahead. My struggle on the canvas opens with a search for the right coloured daub which I then adapt to its environment on the canvas. Like a musician, the artist seeks out the right tone to place it its harmonic space, but his first attempt does not always succeed. So I search for another, layering the original pigment with a second one of colour. I repeat my efforts, until I achieve the right harmony. This effort carries with it the wear and tear of material fatigue; the canvas ceases to breath and loses its transparency, freshness and original feeling. I am familiar with the ensuing disappointment, but I know it is typical of work with oil paint.
When working with water colour, acrylic, gouache and pastels, I am able to achieve the right musical tone and a wonderful transparency with the first laying on of colour. This is true also with graphics; I feel free and am able to move rhythmically and effortlessly along the surface of the paper.
Working with sculpture, I make use of a prepared sketch to design the structure, material and content. These can be viewed in my projects for monuments and memorials, sculptured in stone, cast in iron and worked in glass. Regarding contemporary sculpture, I make use of symbols and concepts to express my ideas as exemplified by my memorials on the subject of the Holocaust and the Jewish rebellion - "The Wall" and "Armored Troops".
As an artist experiencing the wonders of nature, landscape and man, I internalize the rich spectrum of colour and form. My encounter with the canvas has also found expression in etudes (small paintings on cardboard), which have inspired me with the joy of the creative process.
My wife Rachel, myself and our son Michael would spend the summers of 1967-1992 in our vacation home in Safed. There together with the artist Moshe Rosenthalis we would wander the alleyways of the old city - the mystic city set against the legendary Mount Meron. Rosenthalis and I would paint incessantly, until the sun slipped below the horizon.
This chapter of my artistic life continued in old Jaffa Port, Tiberias, Acre and many corners and landscapes in Israel. I stored these etudes which remain untouched in the drawers of my studio.
Instead, wishing to maintain total and unlimited freedom of creativity, I would again return to my store of visual dreams, which are first and foremost born of my strong empathy with nature. I felt myself creating a new artistic reality, through the means of colour and composition.
In the past, when dark clouds covered the skies of Europe, I perpetuated the memory of this tragic-heroic existence with my sketches and graphic drawings which served as an authentic witness to that period.
When I came on aliya to Eretz Israel in 1951, I continued to work in a realistic style, in this way experiencing the dramatic landscapes and blue skies of the Middle
East. These works have been exhibited in the Tel Aviv Museum.

My encounter with the abstract, lyrical art style of the “New Horizons” movement, which was dominant in Israel during the years 1950-1970, was a revelation to me. My move from the realistic approach to the non-figurative was gradual, a change typified by struggle and hesitation. From realism, I moved to the semi-abstract and then finally to the pure abstract. However in my work, I was not content with the brilliant light and the blue skies of the landscape. I felt a spiritual need to express an Israeli - more socio-moralistic universal message. I could not be indifferent to what was going on in the world of today. In my paintings and sculptures, I endeavor to create a language in response to murder on the one hand, and a reference to humanistic values on the other. The tragic events taking place in Europe, in Africa and other locations in the world recalled for me by association, the dark past the days of the Second World War.

The trauma which lay dormant within me these many years gave birth to a series of canvases on the subject of ecology. Black marks, pertro-dollars covering the face of the world's oceans, destroying a wondrous world of vegetation and animal life
of the deep. This as an outcry against the destruction of people and nature.
I have not aligned myself to any specific style. I relate artistically to Israeli abstract art, and am drawn to the freedom of expression of the American artists Jackson Pollok and Rauschenberg, but cannot deny my attraction to the impressive colourfests of Matisse. I appreciate Picasso, not only for his impressive paintings, but also for his non-conformism, which freed him from adhering to the style of painting reigning at that time in Paris.

This book and website express the artistic path I have taken in my life, and as a culmination
of my work as an artist. It is my living will to those that will follow.
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