November 10th, 2004
Andrew Mummery Gallery
By Helen Sumpter
In two series of large colour photographs, Ori Gersht uses the destructive and creative effects of light to create images that are both visually beautiful and multilayered in meaning. The subjects of ‘Ghost’ are gnarled and ancient olive trees (some up to 500 years old) from plantations in Israel’s Galilee region. Greatly overexposed by the midday sun, the pictures have a painterly, almost dreamlike quality. Sunlight has virtually bleached the colour away from some areas, so that knotted trunks and the ground beneath them seem to merge into one. In other areas, long exposures and wafting branches produce a blurry whiteout – as if the whole image were fading in and out of existence.
‘Blaze’ was shot in the same historically charged location, with Gersht pointing the camera in the direction of the sun. Over-exposure transforms scrubby bushes and distant hills into unnatural shades of grey, green and deep purple while the sun glows bright red in a grey-gold sky.