Ron Gang talks
about his art and ideas
(if you've scrolled this far down, then here is a
collection of my verbal musings, about my approach to art,
painting, philosophy of life in general, and more "bloggy"
nonetheless, a picture is worth a thousand words, so only if
you've had enough of the images of the paintings, then read
(or go to Ron Gang talks about
his Ideas and Art for the text accompanied by
"My paintings are fueled by a bond to the land of Israel's
Northern Negev at the desert's edge. The art I like does not try
to be sophisticated, but is innocent, speaking with a quiet
voice to and from the more fundamental depths of one's
In this period, the "art world" in my country is pre-occupied
with "now art"... art that addresses current political and
social issues. I would like to think of my work as art of the
"eternal now", a state where one becomes engrossed in the
experience of the moment which becomes an all-encompassing
eternity. (This term is used by Alan Watts in The Way of Zen.)
Wasily Kandinsky, recognised as the founder of abstract art,
spent his last years in a small apartment in Nazi-occupied Paris
suffering from a grave illness and the restrictions imposed by
the objective political situation. Nonetheless, his work from
this period gives not the slightest clue to these stifling
surroundings. Rather, he continued to draw on his
highly-developed inner spiritual world and produce some of the
finest, most absorbing paintings, that bring across the feeling
of a highly beautiful transcendental universe.
Ludwig Blum, a plein air painter of the Land of Israel, is a
great inspiration for me. In lae 2009 and early 2010 a
great retrospective exhibition of Ludwig Blum's works was shown
at the Diaspora Museum in the campus of the Tel-Aviv
University. The show, curated by Dr. Dalia Manor, at
long last did justice to Ludwig Blum, so overlooked by the
Israeli art establishment all these years.
Are these works masterpieces? Well, maybe some of them -
indeed a respected artist has told me when visiting the studio -
"This work is a masterpiece - do not sell it, at least not for a
low sum." It is hard to say what is an Israeli
masterpiece-especially in this day and age when the focus on the
quality of workmanship and craftmanship in art has
changed. Are there masterpieces being produced
today? Probably so, yet probably far from the
limelight. Have I painted a masterpiece? This is not
for me to say, and only for history to judge, which I hope will
be kind to me.
Acacia Trees, Eucalyptus Trees, Tamarisk Trees, Olive Trees (two
early paintings, unfortunately not on the site at present), Date
Palm Trees, Cypress Trees, have I left anything out?...
Mankind has a connection with trees since the earliest
time... this is born out in Bible with the references to
the different trees in the Garden of Eden.
The tree paintings are an allusion to the human condition...
roots anchored in the ground, head in the heavens... arms
(branches) reaching to the sky.
The paintings of trees are an exploration... the search
continues.... painting trees goes on.....
Is there anything "Jewish" about these paintings? The
question of Jewish art and Jewish painting is probably one of
content, and not related to the ethnic group from which the
artist comes. Is this "Israeli Art?" Definitely, as
the term "Israeli Art" and "Israeli Painting" defines the
geographical location from where the art comes, and since the
work is of the Israeli landscape, this also relates to the
content of the paintings.
As per the question of Judaica: This is art based on Jewsih
One painting of mine "Jacob's Ladder" is indeed based on a
vision from a Bible passage.
So strictly speaking this can be classfied as Judaica.
Yet, I se this work also as universalist, the message being one
of transcendence. The Bible itself is full of universal
We should honor ethnic and religious traditions and see that all
the cultures of the peoples of this planet make up onr beautiful
Plein Air (pleine air):
Working directly from nature, from direct observation is the
essence of plein air (pleine air) painting.
Nature is the teacher, provides the answers, lighting, color,
lightness and darkness (chiaroscuro) values.
No need to invent - rather, in plein air, not to impose the
artist's ego on nature, yet to be receptive, observant.
In plein air, through developing the powers of observation, a
greater sensitivity to visual nuances emerges.
The human face is possibly of the most fascinating landscape,
each line, shape and angle revealing
a lifetime of experience, thought and emotion. It is all
there - we just have to look and put it down
on the canvas, Normally, we may not gaze at a person's
face, as it is impolite, disrespectful and
elecits difficult responses. Yet, the portrait painter
receives a license to do this, and in painting the
subject's portrait during a live sitting, the portrait
sitter reveals his multi faceted soul,
as over the time of the portrait sittings, the fine nuances of
the face are displayed.
Paintings as these record the
universal spirit recognised in all beings and creation. From
of awareness, the Palestinian - Israeli conflict is but another
phenomenal manifestation of the play of the forces existent in
creation. Beyond the awareness of "Palestinian" or "Israeli" or
that matter "Roman" or "Nabatean" expressionist, one sees these
mere labels, tags, attached names, which people fight over and
more fundamental level of reality have no real existence, but
appended labels. Is there really a "Palestinian art" or "Israeli
or is there just "art" per se with no labeling? Is there a
artist" or an "Israeli artist", or is there just an artist? When
contemplate an artist or any human being removed from contextual
he/she is only a human... there is nothing "Palestinian" or
discerened in her/his biology. So one producing "Palestinian
"Israeli art" is producing art whose content transecends the
"Palestinian art" or "Israeli art". Universal art is the
critics and political beings may attach the labels. Do we strive
that which is pure?
Painting is not dead, nor should working with oil paint on
canvas be considered anachronistic. The tradition of painting is
a continuing and developing one. Progress is yet to be made,
building on the work of the great painters of the
It would seem that the advent of the "ready-made" earlier in
the last century, has usurped the value of craftmanship in
art. I believe that this is a detour from the path. It is only a
matter of time in which innovation for the sake of innovation
alone will fall by the wayside. The true values of art will
survive, as art strives for eternity.
My landscapes are painted in the open air. I prefer to walk out
into the desert to work in quiet undisturbed isolation. The work
progresses through the direct process of observing nature.
Scales seem to be removed from the eyes as greater depths of
colour and spatial relationship appear. Indeed the act of
painting seems to be a form of meditation causing a heightening
of the awareness. While in the field, what takes place on the
canvas seems as a reduced reflection of all that is experienced.
Yet when viewed back in the confines of the studio, it is clear
that the canvas has brought back the vitality of the greater
Sometimes I feel that it is the landscape which has painted
itself, not the artist. I have been but a medium through which
that which has been painted has recorded its presence.
One of the joys of painting is the endless combination that the
paint, colour and texture manifest on the canvas. When
successfully juxtapositioned, different colours go into
vibration or oscillation with each other. Layers of paint are
built up with various degrees of transparency creating
unpredictable new effects.
I like a good, textured, painting which gives you the sense that
there is something "to sink your teeth into."
Monet is said to have put each canvas aside, and pulled it out
when the particular atmospheric/lighting effect appeared. A
particular canvas was earmarked for only a certain atmospheric
effect, and thus he would not work on it under a set of
conditions different than those he had decided to be suitable
for that piece.
I have continued with the same canvas under varied conditions,
all of these conditions adding up in terms of layers of paint,
one over the other, contributing to an unforseen final mood
which is born from all the different painting sessions coming
into harmony not without conflict having taken place between
these same layers/sessions, and their traces evident along with
Time seems to be an indispensible element of the work. Time in
the meaning of a span of time from the beginning of the canvas
until the realisation of its completion. Time is necessary to
see all the subtleties in the work and develop the feeling for
what alterations or modifications are to be made for all the
parts of the painting to live together in harmony. This time is
also necessary for separating the painter's seeing of the
painting from the intensity of feelings that accompanied the
earlier act of bringing the raw unfinished painting to be on the
canvas. At that earlier stage the artist identified with the
stimula outside of the canvas, and during that period, when
viewing the painting, he would see more the external stimula,
than the work itself on the canvas. This could be for better or
for worse... The canvas could cause him to recall his private
experience at the time, re-creating for him, but only for him,
those sensations. Yet, the same canvas may communicate
absolutely nothing to another viewer. Or the artist would still
be so much enamoured of that experience, that he would be
blinded to the imperfections or disharmony of the canvas. Thus,
only once he has put the work out of his sight and over the
course of time allowed that memory of the experience to fade,
then he would be able to once again look at the work and see it
on its own merits and make decisions on how to proceed.
On the other hand, during the time of the initial painting act,
he may have implanted in his mind a very strong idea or feeling
as to what direction he wanted the work to take. The work at
that time did not live up to that ideal, and the painter felt it
incomplete, unfinished. Only once again by distancing himself
again from these feelings by means of the passage of time, does
he view the work in a more objective frame of mind. Then he may
even discover a new painting (to him) and see that it is indeed
a completed harmonious work.
In both cases the passage of time was necessary to the artist to
see his work more objectively.
It would seem that this passage of time is in effect another
layer of paint - in this case invisible, but not entirely
intangible - which goes on to the canvas and becomes part of the
totality of the work.
It may seem from the above statements that I choose to ignore
the surrounding social realities, and like an ostrich, bury my
head in the sand. Of course, it is hard to evade the aberrations
of this present age. There are those that in the name of the
Creator and/or his messengers are willing to destroy His
creatures or deny them their human dignity.
YET - if we we all co-operate, we shall turn this world into
Heaven on Earth.
It has been demonstrated the the money spent on but ONE day of
warfare in the Middle East is sufficient to solve all the
problems of water shortage in this region. If we will it, it is
To come back to the issue of art... no, I cannot bury my head in
the sand! But, alas, let there be POSITIVE VIBRATIONS!!! We
shall not let those of destructive tendencies drag us down. With
eyes open, we shall rejoice in the beauty of the Creation. We
shall know our potential, we shall strive for the Ultimate. Let
the art offerings serve as witness of the Goodness that exists
around us. See the positive, strengthen it, and in the effort of
making a better world, we shall strive for beauty!
Even though I prefer this to be a non-commercial site,
most of the paintings are for sale. An artist must
survive, and as such he must sell works to buy time to create
new paintings. So, please be encouraged to buy my works
and become a part of this creative process.
(Paintings that are no longer available are indicated in the
caption below the image as being in a private or corporate
Please contact me for prices and shipping information.
Light is the key - lighting varies with time of day and accents
different shapes and features. Light through clouds like a spot
light on one area of the landscape highlighting it in contrast
to the surroundings. Lighting of the paintings is of utmost
importance - good lighting will make the painting work, poor
lighting will hide what is there. Atmospheric factors change the
light and the softness or hardness of view...
How to paint a landscape, how to paint a sky, how to paint
anything for that matter? The key is using our eyes, "listen" to
your eyes, and let your eyes make the decisions as to
shape, color, etc.
At the London (England) Jewish Cultural Centre : Tues. Dec 14 at
1:30 PM a lecture was given by Dr. Lila Moore: Jewish Mysticism
and Myth in Modern Art - Case Studies: Mordechai Ardon, Marc
Chagall, Ron Gang, Hava Gal-On.
The spring and summer of 2005 saw an exhibition of 18 of my
paintings in the art gallery of the Holy Blossom Temple in
Although I had participated in a few group shows in Toronto and
had a few years previously a solo show of my work at the nearby
Westdale Gallery in Hamilton, this was my first major show in
Monet and the Impressionists including greats like
Pissaro, Sisley, Morrisot showed us to connect with nature in a
way... Kandinsky showed us the Spiritual in Art to be true to
world, to manifest our spirituality in our work, every brush
direction having spiritual importance.. art of the spirit to
our consciousness and awareness to expand to awareness of the
in a grain of sand... allowing vibration of color influencing
psyche with a positive vibration to uplift the spirit to new
My art studies over the years provided many mentors... my first
art teacher was my father,
Israel Gang, who in my early years introduced me to me to
the secrets of perspective drawing.
Edna Goodwill at King Edward Public School in Toronto deepened
the knowledge of perspective
and introduced me to colour and Vincent Van Gogh. My
mother, a lover of art, took me to
see the Van Gogh exhibition in Toronto, back in 1960.
Studying with Chaim Meyers Weiss at the evening classes
Western Negev Maale Habesor School from 1980 to 84 rekindled the
and convinced me to enroll in the Tel-Aviv School of Art
by Arieh Margoshilsky. Most influential teacher-artists
for me there were Yedid (Yadid) Rubin, Eli Shamir, Ofer
Lelouche, Ami Levy
(a sculptor teaching silk screen who demonstrated some secrets
of color mixing), and others of varying influence were Yossi
Maya Cohen-Levy, Larry Abramson, David Reeb and
principal-teacher, a student of Margoshilsky, Zvi Ben-Dov.
Student-colleagues of note were Dani Ben Simhon, Tal Matzliach,
Asim Abu-Shakra, Farid Abu-Shakra, Meira Shemesh, and Michal
My paintings were featured in an exhibition curated by
Tali Tamir in
the Kibbutz Gallery in Tel-Aviv called "Innocent Art"
Israel's 50th Indepedence Day Anniversary... was this naive art?
critic reporter asked me if I was a naive artist while he sensed
there was something deeper. Tali Tami, the curator, seemed to
my work with that of naive artists while hinting to me that this
the exhibition that I had wanted. In an art world where strong
statements are the rule, is there a dulling of sensitivity to
the deeper levels in my work imperceptible, and as such it is
My first major venue outside of Kibbutz Urim (excluding the
Kalisher Gallery where the graduates of my art school exhibited
their crowning art-student
achievenments) was the Beer Sheva Museum of Israeli Art, where a
number of exhibitions of Negev artists were held.
Then, being elected to the Jerusalem Artists' Organization, I
participated in a group show and a year later had a solo
exhibition in the Jerusalem Artists' House. I was told
that this was the first site of the Israel Museum before its
present campus was built. I am still waiting for an
invitation to exhibit there as well as the Tel-Aviv Museum of
Art :-) .
Modern Impressionist painting and
impressionism in landscape painting and landscape paintings also
elements of expressionism and/or expressionist tendencies
art. Figurative art and figurative painting is a non-abstract
paintings are a window to the world. Representational art and
representational paintings more specifically. Mystical Art and
painting shows greater truth, the aim of mysticism and mystical
being pointing to a greater reality. While painting art works of
landscape, landscape paintings provide an art world of plein air
aire) vision. Indeed landscape painting in oil on canvas in the
air is an impressionist art. We must carry artisitic tradition
using together the lessons of Cezanne to create a new
volume and color on the painting surface. Time for reflection,
contemplation and observation of nature, form and space creates
heightened awareness of reality.
Spiritual Art is
painting which conjurs up the spiritual feelings from deep
identify the spiritual manifested in all creation... allowing
of colour influencing the psyche with a positive vibration to
the spirit to new heights. The psychological affect of
colour is used to exalt the spirit.
The sky in paintings of sky and clouds:
the clouds are painted from living moving clouds whose life
traces with the oil paint on the canvas.
The Sabra Cactus, known as prickly
pear, refers not only to the Sabra native born Israeli, yet to
Sabra as a spiritual entity whose form suggest manifold visions.
Abstract and Figurative Art
On one level all art is abstract, for a painting to work,
it must have certain compositional
qualities of color, form, texture, light and shade (chiaoscuro),
flow, etc. whch are essentially abstract.
Yet, we often in our imagination see figures in abstract art.
The figurative has great hold on the mind, and I admit to my
personal near-enslavement to the form and figurative of the
Having said that, I have a great love and respect for good
abstract art, and indeed envy those artists who can produce from
work which is freed from the form and figure, yet whose
harmonies trigger off such a wonderful reaction in the viewer.
Political art sees art as a means to improving the
world. This is generally by pointing out the wrongs and
ills in society,
and as such is a protest. Yet it really doesn't do
anything about the situation.
Would nott those who make political art, if they are truly
concerned with improving the world, do better by engaging
in efficient social and political action to make the world
a better place?
Does this political art think that we don't already know
the defects of the world?
Outside of the political statement, does this art have an
inherent value of its own?
Is it's "political statement" just a gimmick to bring
attention to itself, to give itself an aura of importance?
Does it furthermore set up an atmosphere that says
that art must relate to to the "contemporary social reality"
and then denigrate art for art's sake as of being of no value or
Has this "political art' captured the art extablishment and
installed its own proponents as the curators,
critics and other art-world power possessing individuals?
Will the power-holding-individuals in the art world recognize a
painting which is art for art's sake?
If there is no social-political conotation, will they deny the
work's raison d'etre?
Is art for art's sake doomed?
You can make the difference!
Lao Tze is quoted as having said, "He who knows does not speak;
he who speaks does not know."
From all that I have said above, it should be clear that I know
The transcendental in art.
The sublime in art..
I like art to express and even communicate the transcendent and
trascendental. I have been told that the practice of
Transcendental Meditation shows its influence in the work. The
act of painting itself is a mediation, and the viewing of art I
think should be a meditation as well.
For all the paintings: