Jacob el Hanani: Works on Paper

February 16, 1995 - March 25, 1995

Yoshii Gallery is pleased to annouce an exhibition of nineteen works on paper by the artist Jacob El Hanani.

The elegant, web-like drawings of Jacob El Hanani, who was born in Casablanca and raised primarily in Israel, bears the influences of both Hebrew and Islamic traditions. The artist palpably conveys a sense of the passage of time in his meticulous, highly obsessive works.

Barry Walker, Curator of Prints and Drawing at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, states in his catalogue essay, “El Hanani is a consummate draftsman whose imagery is composed entirely of linear elements.” Utilizing minuscule marks, El Hanani builds a detailed surface that can appear geometric or, at times, organic in character. In restricting his format to the simple shape of a square, El Hanani calls greater attention to his careful rendering of line. The deliberate alteration of density, fluidity and structure in El Hanani’s works suggest a time-consuming process. Each drawing is the result of intense labor; each stroke a moment in its creation. “The ‘how’ of these drawings,” notes Walker, “is almost as important as the ‘what’ of the image.”

El Hanani’s Moroccan origins and his background in the Hebrew language and culture imbue his work with a distinct personal voice. The overall patterns created through his painstaking technique call to mind Moroccan textiles or the micrographic tradition of Hebrew scribes, wherein minute script becomes the components in an abstract composition.

El Hanani’s drawings have been acquired in recent years by the Hirshorn Museum in Washington D.C.; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, among others. Although his work has been included in such exhibitions as “Drawn in the Nineties,” 1992, organized by Independent Curators Inc and the Katonah Museum of Art, and “Marking/Time” at the Drawing Center in 1991, this is the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York in the last twenty years.