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The wisdom of the eye by Natan Zach

Even today, following 13 one-man shows in Israel and abroad, after museum exhibitions and awards, Shalom Flash still does not receive the attention he deserves as an artist. A graduate of Chelsea (London) and Boston (Massachusetts) Colleges of Art and the Tel-Aviv University Technical College, and currently a teacher at the Art Teachers' Training Colleges in Ramat Hasharon and Beer-Sheva, Shalom Flash is one of those rare artists - a nearly extinct species - who do not bother to advertise themselves.

Quietly, virtually unnoticed in Israel and, in the course of long periods of time spent abroad, he pursues the path he has chosen for himself, largely guided by the dictates of his own nature. It is a path that brings together two diverse, remote worlds, though both may be classified under the broad heading of realism: Painting inspired by the old masters of topographical painting (vedute) - artists like the Italian Canalleto, Bellotto and Guardi- side by side with panoramic townscape painting, where Flash follows the contemporary American Painterly Realism of artists like Fairfield Porter, Edwin Dickinson, Jane Freilicher and, particularly of his teacher George Nick.

In fact, there is no real synthesis here. On one hand, there is a strict and binding discipline, long months of hard work, an endeavor to document the sights precisely the way they are seen.

Shalom Flash is the only serious artist I know in Israel today who strives after the perfection of perception, who seeks to capture the convergence of water, sand, sky and buildings under specific, unchanging conditions of light (it is not for nothing that he has a diploma in engineering ). On the other hand, we find a shaking off of discipline, small landscapes close in spirit to early nineteenth century

pre-Impressionism, and later Barbizon Art. On the one hand, painting which is objective, cold and at times even detached a factual representation of reality on canvas. On the other, a casual, fleeting image, more dynamic than the other frozen ones; small formats, freedom: I came, I saw, I painted and I moved on.

But where is Shalom Flash in all this? Well, it is precisely here that the distinction of his art lies: an art which, as it were, has absorbed both artist and his "feelings"- physics instead of emotions. But since this is impossible for the visual or any other kind of artist, I would say that Shalom Flash has devised a superb technique of self-concealment: "nature" first and only then the artist.

Let us not forget that there were times when this was the forever unattainable ideal of the greatest art.

Natan Zach