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An Israeli Artist Puts “Fine” Back Into Fine Arts

Lily Lewit paints gorgeous oils of the North American Indian summer that Joe Dassin would be proud of

Who hasn’t heard the comment “my three year old could have drawn this!” when looking at a piece of modern art in a museum? And he or she likely could have, had they been given the right color and some instructions what to do with it. This kind of art asks a lot from the viewer; it challenges us to look hard for the creative genius of the artist, which is well hidden behind the veil of the banal execution of the work.

But don’t we all like some fast food now and then? I mean I like sea urchins as much if not more than the next guy, but sometimes I am in the mood for plain old fried chicken or a bacon cheeseburger with fries. Sometimes, I want to say “wow” out loud when I see a painting, only to feel a little bit guilty afterwards and hope no one has overheard me; after all, what am I admiring here? Am I admitting to liking a piece of art just because it is pretty? Because it must have been difficult to make it pretty? Because the artist took great pains to make it just so?

The works of the Israeli artist and Jerusalem real estate agent Lily Lewit that are on display from November 24th through December 21st at the Jerusalem Theater on 20 Marcus Street are to me a guilty pleasure. She paints landscapes that are far removed from her native Jerusalem, landscapes that are much closer to where I am living now, on Prince Edward Island, Canada. I have no idea why she chose to paint the colors of Indian summer in North America, but I suspect that it is simply because they are gorgeous.

The one thing that cannot be said about Lily’s oils is that any three year old could have done them. Her paintings are painstaking. They are exquisite. Looking at them, I can understand why she has been successful in the overheated Israeli real estate market; she SELLS the landscapes, she STAGES them. There is nothing in them that isn’t gorgeous, nothing that shouldn’t be there. They are perfection, in fact, they are more perfect than the real thing, just as a realtor’s brochure is more perfect than the property it is showcasing and, of course, there is nothing wrong with that!

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