From Parisian Intellect to Neo-Abstract Expressionism

From Parisian Intellect to Neo-Abstract Expressionism


Untitled (Self-Portrait)
Mixed media (pencil, and wax crayon) on drawing paper
79 x 59 cm / 31.2 x 23.4 in
2023

Born in 1971, Shaye Weiss spent his formative years in 1990s Paris, studying art, philosophy, and cinema at the intellectually vibrant University of Paris VIII - Vincennes-Saint-Denis. This institution was home to influential figures such as Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Hélène Cixous, Jean-François Lyotard, and many other renowned intellectuals. This culminated in the initiation of his Ph.D. journey, titled "The Aesthetics of Resistance."

Hailing from an Austro-Hungarian family, his artistic exploration began during his teenage years in Vienna and Budapest, marked ever since by intermittent periods of dedication to painting and drawing. It was during this time that he seriously contemplated entering the art academia in Vienna, the city where he is currently located again after a number of detours.

During his seven years in Bnei Brak, Israel, Weiss immersed himself in Jewish spirituality and mysticism, especially the Hasidic tradition. This experience, which included his work as a photographer, deepened his fascination with the creative possibilities found within contemporary Judaica.

Shaye Weiss draws inspiration from diverse luminaries in abstract expressionism, art brut, and informal art. He seeks to infuse his work with the painterly confidence of Joan Mitchell, the urgency of Jean Dubuffet's scratch marks, the obsessive scribblings of Cy Twombly, and the poignant graffiti of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Moreover, the intuitive lyrical abstraction of Arnulf Rainer significantly influences his work, while the socially charged and dynamic canvases of Oscar Murillo resonate deeply within his artistic vision.

Identifying with and characterizing his art as a form of neo-abstract expressionism, or neo-gestural abstraction, Weiss aims to convey intensity, energy, and a sense of raw, unfiltered expression. The result often materializes as spirited bursts of color, line, and shape, challenging the subtext and grimmer socio-political and psychological context of their creation. Recurrent themes in his work include anti-Semitism, depression, anxiety, and death.

In his works, gestures, although automatic and spontaneous, are meticulously planned and executed with deliberate strokes using various tools, including brushes, sticks, and even hands and fingers. His works serve as documents and traces of these performances. Materiality is crucial to him, and there's no hidden meaning; on the contrary, meaning lies in what is immediately visible.