Border #8

Artist: Michal Rovner (Israeli, born 1957)

Date: 1997–98

Medium: Paint on canvas

Dimensions: 128.9 x 169.5 cm (50 3/4 x 66 3/4 in.)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1999

Accession Number: 1999.240

Rights and Reproduction: © Michal Rovner


Over the past decade Rovner, an Israeli-born artist now based in New York City, has produced an evocative body of work concerning the intersection of reality, feeling, and memory. This powerful image derives from the prologue of Rovner's video "Border" (1997), in which she explores the psychological and political meanings of geographical and national borders, using the military access road from Israel to Lebanon as a site and herself as a model. Working with a still from the video, which she deftly and variously enhanced in color, scale, and texture, Rovner generated fifteen different computerized image files. An outdoor sign company then digitally airbrushed these images onto canvas, creating fifteen unique large-scale variations on this brooding landscape, each in a slightly different mood.

In order to express the intensity of her personal experience adequately but in terms general enough to apply to the broader human condition, Rovner often marries photography, video, digital art, and painting in a mélange that ignores traditional categories of medium and process. This technological fluency helps her generate pictures of unusual authority and resonance: fusions of the real and the imaginary as familiar as scenes in our own dreams and just as spare, haunting, and, ultimately, elusive.