Like many painters, Israeli artist Guy Yanai uses his own photographs as source material, but his focus, in a show at LaMontagne Gallery, is less the subject of the photo than how camera and computer — and, in turn, paintbrush and the “screen” of the canvas — shape the way we see.
The paintings appear simple, but they’re freighted with subtle complexities. Yanai’s subject matter is often dull: the corner of a canopy at a gas station, a detail of a swing set that doesn’t include the swing. But he paints with sunny, delectable colors. His technique looks painstaking; he renders mostly everything in straight horizontal lines. Yet it’s also cursory; he applies one layer of paint, and he’s done. The almost-mechanical nature of Yanai’s process inevitably emphasizes the imperfection of the artist’s hand, and that, too, creates tension.