© Estate of the artist
Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Elie Posner

Michael Gross

Israeli, 1920–2004

Earth and Air,


Oil on canvas, 195 x 115 cm
The Vera and Arturo Schwarz Collection of Israeli Art

“When I was studying architecture,” Michael Gross once said, “I would draw without shadows. I did not succumb to external means of definition. I would draw a thick line and a thin line, to give a sense of near and far, rather than a physical depiction of the shadow. I was impatient regarding the means. From the first moment I had no patience, I wanted to capture the thing itself, I wanted to say it right away, as it is.”

In Earth and Air, Gross depicts the horizon that directs the viewer’s gaze to the side and the longitude line that lifts it up to the “sky” and draws it down to the “earth.” Looking at the painting up close we can see that the white layer of paint that forms the two lines was applied on a canvas that was completely covered in ocher. Thus Gross presents the hierarchy of the gaze, with the earth down below and the air up above.

Ido Targano

Artists in Action

Michael Gross

Isart: The Israeli Artists Golden Year Book, Tel Aviv: Stier Publications, 1977. https://museum.imj.org.il/artcenter/newsite/en/?artist=Gross,%20Michael

Michael Gross was an Israeli painter, sculptor and conceptual artist.