ArtProfile, Germany, 1997


by Helmut Orpal

  "The paintings of Amos Yaskil take the viewer to breathtaking landscapes of the north of Israel, the Sea of Galilee and the Galilee. Yaskil's native countryside, his homeland for over forty years, is an infinite source of inspiratilon for his paintings that never cease to surprise us with fresh new perspectives and impressions. The region is full of mystery that invites one to ponder and meditate. There is the lake, the expanses of mountains looming in the distance (the Golan Heights), the Cyprus trees suddenly appearing in the landscape and the magical exotic light."
   "The landscape of the Galilee is permeated with a biblical lore, and to this day one can feel the spirit of the prophets of the Old Testament. It is here that the borders of Jordan, Syria and Israel meet. This is a region where Jews and Arabs - people of different faiths and with seemingly unbridgeable outlooks on life -- live side by side, conducting relations often ridden with violence, tension and strife. This is the home of Amos Yaskil. Here he paints his pictures that float over all these inconceivable and incompatible elements. Perhaps it is this very lack of tranquility in the surrounding area that allows the artist to concentrate primarily on the beauty of nature that transcends the world of man. It is through his paintings that Yaskil presents to us all the magnificence and glory in nature and a dimension that is not connected with time. Yaskil's paintings arouse philosophical thoughts. In light of the sabra flowers, this brings to mind the philosophy of the "eternal return" mentioned by the great minds from Gillgamesh, Plato, Spinoza and Nietzsche - again and again in different variations - pondering the beauty of the blossoming and withered in nature."
   "The artificial garden and the expansive, seemingly infinite landscape - an important pair of opposites in Yaskil's paintings - are juxtaposed, creating their magic. Tamed nature in the form of a carefully cultivated garden is a metaphor for man's ephemeral nature. Man, who plans and contemplates, is put in his place in the natural landscape, while at the same time it gives the picture an historical dimension. Where man has intervened, he creates something relating to history, since only man has history in the real sense of the word. When man disappears, so does history. The cultivated garden again becomes one with nature and the signs are blurred. Yaskil observes and draws the contrast. He catches the light of the landscape. The shapes that he chooses for conveying this are not abstract. He is not meticulous about details, but depicts the power of the composition, and its strength lies in its simplicity. Strong surfaces, simple in form, converge. Greenish yellow here, deep blue there and light turquoise in the distance.
   Although the structures in Yaskil's paintings seem simplistic, they are carefully thought out. Behind them hide not just a sense of delicacy, but a wide knowledge on the effects of colors, and especially of color contrasts."