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January 2018 - Zadik Gallery

Curator: Sari Golan

Anchor 2



Curator: Sari Golan

In her present exhibition Debbie Oshrat presents work constructed from an array of used tea bags, sewn in patchwork, forming a semi-organic platform for work sewn or painted over it. At the same time, they form a tapestry of patches assembled from memories, themes and various imageries. Her work combines autobiographical topics as the daughter of a Holocaust survivors, alongside social preoccupation with gender and feminist issues. The act of deconstruction and reconstruction is a conceptual preoccupation at the core of her work.

The project consists of three main bodies of work that interface and interrelate. The first part, which constitutes the beginning of the work, was inspired by the number tattooed on Debbie's mother’s arm – a Holocaust survivor. The image of the ageing arm influenced her urge to create a platform with skin-like color and texture. On top of this substrate Debbie embroidered and painted her works dealing with the slowly disintegrating number on the mother's arm. The number, becoming an independent and central actor in the works, upholds diverse relations with the substrate: it assimilates into, disintegrates, takes over it, etc. It is a narrative that objects to the long years of silenced preoccupation with the subject.

The second body, from which the exhibition’s title is derived, is called "Your Mother's Cunt". This body consists of work clusters examining gender controversies from multiple perspectives – whether through a direct image of female genitalia, or through rotund and spiral forms that correspond with primordial female architypes. The vagina is an image that accentuates its existence as a gate to life aperture as well as a life creator. It is also charged with the "Wild Woman" image which connects us to our sources, as well as to desire and creation. By examining the vagina, a feminist gaze materializes, attaching Debbie to her femininity, to her mother, and to women as a whole. Observing the world, "through the vagina" expresses that same "Wild Woman" not afraid to expose and be exposed. Shamelessly and uninhibited. This body of work also contains an element of black humor which entices the inclusion of more gender-complex issues into the discussion.

The third body of work focuses on silhouette motives. The silhouettes range from somewhat schematic-abstract figures performing various gestures to more realistic silhouettes. As Jung wrote, "In the depths of shadow the treasure is hidden". What is that shadow, then? The shadow functions as a symbol of forces of violence, malice, and brutality. In Debbie's case, mental abuse that her daughter experienced during her military service is deeply influential. Via the shadow Debbie performs a process of howling, pain and hardship, against the loss of innocence and pure goodness, inherent in us as human beings. And what is the treasure? The treasure that is concealed in the abyss is the spiritual powers that is concealed in each and every one of us as surviving creatures capable of overcoming harsh traumas. In her works Debbie conveys the message that if we touch the shadow and the hardship, we will access the treasure and the healing it conceals within.

The three bodies of work conduct different reciprocal relations, corresponding with ancient feminine crafts such as sewing, weaving and embroidery. At the same time a process of unraveling and restoration takes place. Debbie takes these traditional techniques, which contain women's ancient language, and transforms them into the contemporary world, live and kicking.

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