Tirtzah Bassel. When You Are Everywhere

Tirtzah Bassel (*1979, Israel) focuses on public places and the interactions that take place within them. In her paintings, the New York-based artist captures all too familiar situations: tourists eagerly searching for the best mobile phone snapshots or a couple tired of shopping taking a rest on an Ikea display sofa. The scenes in these so-called "non-places" could take place anywhere in the world and as such touch on a sense of universality. However Bassel goes beyond a merely descriptive portrayal of the increasing similarity that these spaces take on globally, and extends a critical lens the ways in which they shape individual experiences within them.

The triptych "Theater" reveals a near-empty auditorium, illuminated by house lights and dotted with empty seats. But its central focus is not the event itself. Rather, Bassel directs our attention to the audience members and the act of waiting. Heads bent over smart phones, the figures embody the choreography of intermission. The expressive brush strokes and the choice of vibrant color draw attention to subtle details of expression and body language. In "Theater" and other works, the artist juxtaposes the desire for proximity and recognition that drives our actions in real and virtual spaces with a prevailing sense of solitude and isolation.

The scene in each painting unfolds quietly, mirroring the process of the artist at work. Rooted in observation, the artist creates initial sketches on site. In the studio, these drawings serve as starting points for the mostly large-format paintings. The resulting images resound with a penetrating observation of a 21st century moment.

Tirtzah Bassel is a new artist in the program of Galerie Thomas Fuchs. This is the first time that her works will be shown in the exhibition rooms. Tirtzah Bassel has been exhibited internationally in the United States, Israel and Europe, most recently in the exhibition "New York Paintings - 4 Young Painters from Brooklyn" at Kunstverein Worms. The artist studied painting and drawing at the Jerusalem Study School in Israel and at Boston University in the USA. She has taught at various institutions, including Boston University, Brandeis University and currently in the Visual and Critical Studies Department at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Tirtzah Bassel is also Assistant Director of the Brandeis Institute Music and Art in Massachusetts and a Founding Director of "PopUp for Change", a creative social project in New York.

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