About my portraits/Michal Biber
Two portraits were made as part of my “bomb shelter” series, in my studio in Tel Aviv, in a space also operates as a bomb shelter during war times. The usage of bomb shelters as artist’s studios is common in Israel, and helps to support artists by providing them an affordable working space.
Painting in a shelter means painting to a fluorescent light, and constantly searching for a natural light source. In that desperate quest for a natural light, I started painting next to the emergency escape door, a very small and stuffy place which offers some natural light.
After a second thought, I decided to rise to the challenge, and to paint a series of self-portraits using the cold and harsh fluorescent light.
Painting in an industrial space means I had to incorporate unromantic “accessories” that were found in the municipal bomb shelter, such as a ladder or a fire extinguisher, those eventually found their way into the paintings.
The other couple of portraits, were painted in another studio I had which was located in the heart of the hectic Carmel market.
Since light is a very significant factor for me as a figurative painter, the well-lit studio enabled me to further research the topic of self-portraits and to play with the strong and contrast lights. Thus creating dramatic portraits in which one side is visible and the other side is hidden.
Each working space and lighting conditions affected the painting process: the portraits from the Carmel market are rather small and were painted quickly on paper, unlike the shelter portraits that are the outcome longer and more reflective process.