The figures in KuKula's paintings wear their heartaches on their sleeves. They are delicate but resilient dolls buffeted by the crosswinds of the real world. KuKula herself was born in a small town in Israel and later studied illustration and design in Tel Aviv, graduating in 2003. The small town environment of her childhood fostered a fantasy life rooted in her exposure both to popular culture and to her elderly neighbor friends, many of whom were holocaust survivors. Her paintings are thus infused with a tension between playfulness and mourning. KuKula draws her aesthetic inspiration from a variety of sources, including children's illustrations such as Holly Hobby and the Care Bears, pin-up girl art, and German bisque dolls. In 2004 she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is currently based.
In the past, whenever I began working on a show, I tried to capture an emotion that was generated by some important experience in my life. I tried to document the feeling, not the event. This time I am attempting to catch emotional currents with no evident experiential origin. Whereas my past paintings represented the nightmare feeling of real life, here I want to depict the emotional utopia one tries to keep sheltered within.
The delicate web of the dreamcatcher filters out the bad dreams, while the feathers hanging below allow the good ones to flow freely. In this sense I used an imaginary dreamcatcher to block the fears learned from experience, which allowed me a clearer view of that sheltered core. What I am after is not some psychedelic fantasy, but an innerness that has not been scarred by the unending pushing and shoving of real life. In such a place my girls can be whole and unhurt.
Not being an American, native or otherwise, the dreamcatcher to me represents not so much a particular tradition, as a point of departure. Its metaphorical possibilities, as with other objects, are what have inspired me.
Artist website: www.kukulaland.com