This book is the first full-length assessment of the paintings of Tal R (b. 1967), an Israeli-born Danish artist whose enigmatic work offers intersections of personal experience and wider history through a visual jigsaw, finely balanced between representation and abstraction, of what the artist terms 'Kolbojnik', a Hebrew term for leftovers. Tal R's paintings are exceptionally idiosyncratic yet informed by an expansive view of the history of painting, with a diverse range of references including Fauvism, Symbolism and folk art. To the casual observer, his works depict amalgams of people, places and things. But deeper scrutiny reveals them as complex conceptual playgrounds where these seemingly simple categories are exploded and examined as 'construction' sites of both literal material (including collage, photography and sculpture) and meaning. For all students and lovers of painting, Tal R's works, like those of Chris Ofili or Laura Owens, have cleared a pathway for painting to continue after modernism and postmodernism without apology, beyond the worn out 'death of painting' mantra. Terry R.Myers text offers an authoritative account of the twists and turns that path has taken so far.
Terry R. Myers is a US-based writer, lecturer and curator. A regular contributor since 1988 to numerous international journals, including Art Review, The Brooklyn Rail and Modern Painters, he is the author of Mary Heilmann: Save the Last Dance for Me (Afterall Books, 2007) and editor of Painting: Documents of Contemporary Art (Whitechapel Gallery and The MIT Press, 2011). He is currently Professor and Chair of Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.