ITZCHAK TARKAY 1935 - 2012
LIMITED EDITION SERIGRAPHS AND LITHOGRAPHS HAND SIGNED BY ITZCHAK TARKAY
Itzchak Tarkay was born in 1935 in Subotica on the Yugoslav-Hungarian border. When he was only nine years old, Tarkay was sent to Mauthausen concentration camp by the Nazis. After the war, he returned Home and developed an interest in art. While still at school in Subotica, he won a prize for excellence in painting. In 1949 he and his family emigrated to Israel and were sent to a transit camp for new arrivals at Beer Ya'akov. Their next two years were spent in a kibbutz.
In 1951, Tarkay received a scholarship to the Bezalel Art Academy in Jerusalem, where he studied for a year before having to leave due to difficult financial circumstances at Home. In order to continue his scholarship, he was allowed to study under the artist Schwartzman until his mobilization to the Israeli army. After returning to the familiar environment of Tel Aviv, Tarkay enrolled in the Avni Institute of Art, which he graduated in 1956. His teachers there were Mokady, Janko, Streichman, and Stematsky.
Tarkay has since exhibited extensively both in Israel and abroad, and his works can be found in many public and private collections.
ITZCHAK TARKAY JOURNEY TO THE PAST
WORKS ON PAPER
RECENTLY, A FRIEND OF MINE WHO IS A FIGURATIVE LANDSCAPE PAINTER REMARKED THAT PEOPLE WHO HAD SEEN HIS LATEST WORK WERE FINDING IT TO BE "MORE AND MORE ABSTRACT." I DON'T THINK IT'S GETTING MORE AND MORE ABSTRACT," HE SAID. " I THINK IT'S GETTING REALER AND REALER !"
LIKE MYFRIEND, ITZCHAK TARKAY IS A FIGURATIVE PAINTER WHO LEANS HEAVILY TOWARD ABSTRACTION. FOR A GOOD PART OF THE PAST DECADE, HIS WORK HAS INVOLVED, SPECIFICALLY, THE FEMALE FIGURE-- A FIGURE, SINCE THE EARLY 1990s, USUALLY SEATED WITH ONE OR TWO WOMAN IN CAFE'S THAT ARE SO GENERICALLY CAFE'S THAT IT WOULD SEEM THEY COULD BE LOCATED IN ANY BUSTLING METROPOLIS IN ANY CITY IN THE CIVILIZED WORLD. TARKAY'S LADIES OF THE AFTERNOON LOUNGE, LUNCH, CHAT, AND JUST GENERALLY TURN A DOLEFUL, LANGUID EYE ON THE WORLD AROUND THEM -- AND SOMETIMES, IT SEEMS, EACH OTHER. AND MORE ABSTRACTED THEIR FORMS BECOME UNDER TARKAY 'S FLUENT BRUSH, THE MORE WILDLY FAUVIST BECOME THE COLOR SCHEMES, THE " REALER AND REALER" THEY GET. TARKAY'S PECULIAR COMPOUND OF THE REALISTIC AND THE ABSTRACT, THE FIGURATIVE AND THE DECORATIVE, FINALLY CREATES FOR THE VIEWER A LOCALIZED UNIVERSE OF LADIES STUDIOUSLY UNAWARE OF OUR EXISTENCE, AND ALMOST OF THE ENTIRE OUTSIDE WORLD.
THE EVOLUTION OF TARKAY'S SOIGNE' LADIES BEGAN IN THE EARLY 1980s, WITH WORKS THAT WERE CONSIDERABLY DIFFERENT FROM THE ACRYLICS ON CANVAS HE HAS COME TO BE KNOWN FOR IN THE 90s. THEY WERE DIFFERENT IN MEDIUM --ACRYLIC ON BOARD ORPAPER, WATERCOLOR, CHARCOAL AND PASTEL -- AND NOTABLY DIFFERENT IN COLOR AND STYLE. WHERE TARKAY'S BRUSHSTROKE WAS, A DECADE LATER, TO BECOME TIGHTER AND MORE PRECISE IN ITS DELINEATION OF HUMAN AND OBJECTIVE FORM, IN THE EARLY 80s, IN PAINTING LIKE THE PROTEGE', THE EXPRESSIONIST INFLUENCE OF SOUTANE AND ROUALT WERE TO BE FELT IN TARKAY'S SLIGHTLY GRIM COLOR SENSE -- MUCH OF THE PAINTING OF MOTHER AND "FAVORITE" AU TABLE IS IN SHADES OF GRAY, BONE, AND IVORY -- AND ESPECIALLY IN HIS THICK, HEAVY BRUSH STROKE AND VOLUMINOUS MODELING OF BODY PARTS. TAVERN AT DUKE, AN ACRYLIC ON BOARD WITH PASTEL, IS SIMILARLY LOOSE, EVEN A BIT GROSS, IN ITS FULL-FIGURED DEPICTIONS OF TAVERN FREQUENTERS OUT FOR A BEER AT SUNDOWN, WITH TARKAY MAKING LIBERAL USE OF LIVELY, LOOPY WHITE PASTEL OUTLINING TO DELINEATE DINERS AND DECOR.
MORE DELICATE AND INTIMATE IN ITS EFFECT IS AN ACRYLIC ON BOARD LANDSCAPE FROM THISPERIOD , ITS ROLLING MEADOWS , TREES AND HILLOCKS REALLY NO MORE THAN EVER-SO-SLIGHTLY VOLUPTUOUS MASSES OF COLOR A BIT MORE HIGH-TONED -- WITH REDS , MAUVES , AND EVEN SOME SUNNY GREEN -- THAN THE PAINTINGS DEPICTING HUMANS . BUT SUCH A LANDSCAPE IS A RELATIVE RARITY : ALREADY IN THE EARLY TO MID- 80s TARKAY IS EXHIBITING LARGE TRACES OF THE SUBJECT MATTER THAT CAME TO BE ALMOST AN OBSESSION WITH HIM LATER IN THE DECADE OF THE 80s AND WELL INTO THIS ONE : THE FEMALE FIGURE , CLOTHED AND UNCLOTHED , ALONE OR IN THE COMPANY OF OTHER WOMAN . THE ACRYLIC ON BOARD "AFTER HOURS" GIVE US TWO RATHER SOLEMN-SEEMING WOMAN LOCKED IN CONVERSATION , HUGE FOREARMS RESTING ON A TABLE WHOSE CLOTH IS MADE UP OF A BOLD , BYZANTINE FLORAL PATTERN AT ITS FRONT , WITH ALONE DRINKER AT ANOTHER TABLE TO THE REAR. MORE OFTEN , AT THIS POINT , TARKAY'S WOMAN ARE ALONE. "MORNING RITUAL" A JEWEL -LIKE TOUR DE FORCE OF INKS AND ACRYLIC WASHES IN SHADES OF WHITE , PALE GREEN , AND SOME DELICIOUSLY VIOLET UMBERS , EXAMINES THE SUNNY PREDICAMENT OF THE LADY OF THE HOUSE HAVING HER FIRST " TASSE DE CAFE' " OF THE DAY ALL ALONE IN HER BEDROOM , LOOKING SIMULTANEOUSLY SLEEPY AND WARY. TARKAY WORKS FURTHER, JUST AS SUBTLY AMUSING , TURNS ON THIS THEME IN " WAITING FOR A FRIEND" THE ACRYLIC ON BOARD FROM 1985. A BLACK STOCKINGED , TOULOUSE-LAUTREC TYPE LADY IN LOOSE BLUE VEST, WHITE-PASTEL-ON-GRAY SKIRT AND MISMATCHED GLOVES (THE GLOVES ON TARKAY'S WOMAN ARE ALMOST ALWAYS , GIVEN AESTHETIC LICENSE , MISMATCHED), SITS IN AN UNCOMFORTABLE -SEEMING BLACK WOODEN CHAIR, HER HEAD BURIED MOODILY IN ON HAND , THE FINGERS OF HER OTHER HAND TAPPING IMPATIENTLY ON HER RIGHT KNEE AS SHE WAITS -- AND WAITS-- FOR HER COMPANION.
TARKAY'S WATERCOLOR FROM THE EARLY 80s ARE MORE SUBTLE AND VAGUE THAN HIS ACRYLICS-ON-BOARD.
" PEACEFUL MOMENTS " SHEDS MANY OF THE EXPRESSIONIST EXCESSES OF THE ACRYLICS IN FAVOR OF GENTLE, WASHY DELINEATION OF A SLEEPING NUDE WHOSE PENDULOUS CONTOURS ARE LIGHTLY TRACED IN PENCIL: COLOR DO STILL TEND TO THE DULLER RANGES, BUT HAVE AN AQUEOUS, CRYSTALLINE SHIMMER TO THEM THAT MAKE THIS NUDE AN EVOCATIVE STUDY IN NATURAL NARCOSIS . IN OTHER WORKS THAT--IN SUBJECT MATTER -- FORESHADOW THE FASHIONABLE " DEMI-MONDES " OF THE 90s TARKAY APPLIES THIS SAME, GENERALIZING TECHNIQUE TO FEATURE, FROM, AND FIGURE: IN " TALK OF THE TOWN, THREE HIGH-TONED LADIES, EACH AWASH IN
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