David Gome | Twisted Together
Chief Curator: Rachel Sukman
David Gome creates his art from within. He is an artist of the kind commonly referred to as "self-taught," for everything he has learned was from and by himself. He does not boast influences of well-known Israeli or international painters and sculptors, since he has not studied art theory and practice in an orderly fashion, but has sought his path in the visual arts all alone.
Since retiring from his job as an electronics engineer, he discovered his passion for artmaking, and has begun to express his thoughts and desires in sculpture. The choice of clay was natural—love at first sight. The unmediated encounter of his hands with the soft brown dough, which responded readily, transforming from one moment to the next, surprised him and gave him a pleasure he had never felt before.
Gome's ideas are visually expressed in a manner that differs significantly from the three-dimensional sculpture prevalent since time immemorial, regardless of the material from which it is made or cast. He creates four-directional sculptures, which turn to all four winds. Without conscious preplanning, he makes the viewers look at his sculptural portraits in a different way, change their long-standing habits, and walk around the sculpture to view it from all four sides. During our first meeting, when I drew his attention to the fact that he creates sculptures with four points of view, it seemed obvious and natural to him. His sculptures—mostly depicting women, whom he "loves and admires," he says—originate in a square mass of raw material, which comes to his work table in a cardboard box, like a square receptacle from which the portrait emerges.
Hand kneading the clay, he is free of thoughts about the final appearance of the sculpture. He has no preliminary expectations or preconceived notions regarding the finished work. He approaches the block of clay, letting his hands, rather than his mind, lead the way, relying on his senses, and the process seems to occur on its own, between his initial sensations and the given clay on the surface. Since he has no idea what the outcome of the session will be, he is pleasantly surprised every time a piece is born.
The work process is repeated with each new sculptural portrait. The transition from a block of clay to a bust takes several days, after which it is left to dry on a wooden board for about a week. In the next phase, the sculpture is fired at 1600 °C for 24 hours. When it comes out of the kiln, it is coated with colored glaze, clay paints, or (usually) transparent glaze, and fired for another 24 hours at a different temperature.
Gome arrived at painting at a later stage, in 2011. His paintings in acrylic on canvas are mostly the figments of his imagination. Marked by rich, captivating colors, they arouse curiosity, and seem to conduct a dialogue with the painting known in Western art history as na?ve-surrealistic.
Gome began working in clay in 2006. In August 2020, when I visited his studio, his oeuvre numbered 113 sculptures viewable from four different angles. The exhibition at Office in Tel Aviv Gallery will feature some 20 ceramic sculptures and 12 paintings in acrylic on canvas.
David Gome was born in Kibbutz Mishmarot, 1946; lives and works in Ra'anana, Israel