By Robert Seitz
As an artist Yoella Razili gathers and reshapes the stuff of life to satisfy an innate curiosity and thirst for making things. Perhaps her hands were enlivened to this work in her childhood in Kibbutz Kfar Blum in Israel, where she worked in a nurturing cooperative society closely connected to nature and farmland. Or perhaps as an art teacher, or as a mother of three, she found herself fully realized as a being that must continually source, connect and shape. Wherever it began, the direction of this shaping isn’t particularly important compared to her momentum, as action drives her work. She pays attention to the way things fit so that she can resist the way things are supposed to fit and redirect them: “I am interested in starting with the unknown and reaching clarity, or starting with a fixed idea and reaching blurriness.” Work and play are not separate; it is the way of her life and her motivations in art making involve this omnidirectional solvency.
The artist has moved from paintings to primarily wall mounted objects that are not exactly sculpture, instead she calls them structures. It is more the result of process than thinking that led a few of them to become ‘double sided’, and a few that are even ‘four sided’ and best placed on a pedestal. The use of material placements, stacking of lines and even the colors as meeting places between elements displays suspension of certainty. The pieces are concretized diversion, as though their completion was beside the point, it’s even difficult to say when any particular piece is finished. In a previous exhibit, Revisited / Reworked, pieces that were monochromatic were completely reworked with color. Working with the materials in her way allows the shifts and bends she encounters in the road to direct her destination.
Yoella Razili allows her invented, incident-inspired leads to curve away from anyone’s expectations, including her own. This is as suitably pure a definition for play as any. The approach results in serious and happy sides to her work. She pays close attention to the conversation of art, and maintains a concern with remaining current. But she also intentionally wants to create happiness. She asks, why put misery up in front? With happiness as a kind of base aesthetic, modified by her subversive, puzzling diversions, the artist transforms the functional into the personal, and keeps moving steadily along.