My favorite painting, the first one I noticed, the one that grabbed me as I entered the gallery and pulled me into this unfamiliar artist’s world, is also the one that defies me and avoids interpretations. Yes there are horses, there are sideways crosses (or are they exes? Does it matter?) Each block of color in this large canvas (measuring approximately 86 by 81 inches) features brushstrokes rendered differently. My husband, my companion for the opening, immediately read the painting as the work of a depressive, a product of anger. I felt differently, however, and read, or felt, rather, the painting as both urgent and deliberated. Givati needed an outlet: he had something to say.
Hans Kofler compares Givati’s struggles to the fluctuations “between Equus and Pegasus—between the blind, tortured and tormented horse and the wild, free and winged horse who soars to the skies.”
Another painting, 1814 (Untitled), features five white horse heads strung on a branch. Above are a white horse head and neck and a red horse and neck facing away from each other: the white one facing down and the red head proudly facing up as if to depict the eternal struggle between Equus and Pegasus.
1 Givati, 395.
2 Givati, 398.
Shoshana Greenwald is completing her master’s degree in material culture, decorative arts and design history at Bard Graduate Center. She can be reached at email@example.com.