“Haifa, Art and Sea”, The National Maritime Museum, Haifa.

“The paintings of Shmuel Bonneh resemble a series of picturesque maps of the country. The works are like maps, the coastline dividing land from sea. In the sea there is a map with an arrow pointing North. His paintings give one a sense of an artist who has been painting and breathing Haifa for decades. When he turns to abstraction, it is as an artistic medium and not as an end in itself. …He creates a metaphoric city with a shore and a harbour, and the teeming life in homes and yards. … He is motivated by experience. His paintings of the old houses of the lower town include geometric sections with hints of the urban scene and the history of life in the city. A fictive road cuts across the upper town, and erotic images are glimpsed through windows in direct, colourful drawing. The whole composition is based on a picturesque construction that the artist makes no attempt to conceal, thereby achieving a quality of momentum. … The climate is present in all the works, evident in the bright light, the whitewashed walls of houses, and the imposing deep blue of the ocean. The outcome is – Mediterranean – yellow, white and blue, the sunlight of the East and oriental ornamentation. … In the most recent works there are unified planes of colour, minimalist patches of blue sea in the midst of an essentially urban scene, bright and gilded. Bonneh emphasizes the colour contrasts, the chiaroscuro. His paintings are just a passing fashion, they actualize and derive from the landscape itself, connected to nature and the natural environment. He has invented his own pictorial language, one that unites construction with spirituality. - And the result – colourful fantasy from the internalization of an imagined landscape.”


Daniella Talmor, Curator of the Exhibition, in the catalogue, 1996


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