Known for his bold brushstrokes and vibrant colors, Michael Kovner creates paintings that offer lush images of Israeli scenery. An expansive beach dotted with red umbrellas, piles of yellow haystacks casting moody shadows in the sunlight and a blunt portrait of a lemon tree ripe with fruit are among his subjects. In Kovner’s new exhibition, The Mountain and the Sea, currently on display at the George Krevsky Gallery, the artist presents 24 works that contrast the Israeli landscape with renderings of the natural surroundings of Sausalito, Calif.
Son of Israeli poet and political activist Abba Kovner, the artist grew up on Kibbutz Ein-Ha Chonesh and served in an HQ Reconnaissance Patrol Unit with Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak. Kovner’s artistic style was highly influenced by his work with helicopters.
“Often I saw the earth from a bird’s eye view, while at the same time I watched the earth closely, walking hills and wadis. I developed dual feelings for the land… one more objective, involving structure and form, the other responding to details and movement,” Kovner said in a 2003 interview with Deidre Stein Greben of ARTnews.
In 1970, when he was discharged from the army, Kovner came to New York City, where he studied at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture. His work with teachers Philip Guston, Jack Tworkov and Steven Sloman influenced him highly.
Kovner’s paintings have been shown extensively throughout the United States and Israel, including solo exhibitions at the Bineth Gallery in Tel Aviv; The Israeli Museum, Jerusalem, and the Ann Loeb Bronfman Gallery in Washington, D.C.
George Krevsky Gallery, 77 Geary St., San Francisco; May 4-June 17; Tue.-Sat. 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; free. (415-397-9748 or www.georgekrevskygallery.com)