Natalie Rozenbaum, born in Russia in 1981, grew up in the picturesque and historic Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. Steeped in history, the city also is a powerful industrial center. Situated along one of the most beautiful rivers of Siberia, the Enisey, Krasnoyarsk is surrounded by mountains, giving an interesting flavor to the city views, and no doubt inspiring Rozenbaum to later specialize as an artist in cityscapes. For five years, she studied fashion and textile design at the prestigious Omsk State Technological Institute in Russia where she excelled, graduating with honors in Design.
Soon after graduating from university, Rozenbaum immigrated to Israel where she makes the cities of her new homeland the subject of her paintings, her vivid imagination turning scenes of reality into the fantastical. Her images encompass buildings, streets and traffic, as well as people, and sometimes a hint of the desert beyond and the ocean. But it is not the reality of city-life that she paints, rather it is the palpable energy that emanates from the city, its living, breathing presence with all the separate parts that inter-relate to create this urban organism.
The people of her paintings are minimalist, stripped to their bare essence so as to emphasize their purpose, just as the houses they inhabit retain only the symbols of a home—windows, doors, perhaps an allusion of a wall or two. By means of her minimalist style, Rozenbaum’s paintings become narratives that leave much to the viewer’s imagination. It is as if the onlooker is given the building blocks for a story that they themselves complete.
In some regard, this artist’s style has characteristics of El Greco who demonstrated a tendency to dramatize rather than to describe, resulting in a strong energy transferring itself from the painting directly to the audience. Also similar to El Greco’s style is her interweaving between form and space whereby a reciprocal relationship is developed between the two that unifies the painting’s surface. And then, like Edward Hopper, she erases detail, thus reducing clutter but leaving recognizable images.
It is clear, too, to see the influence of the French Impressionists in her control of color tones and the joined-up modulation of paint that is a trait of the French tradition. Rozenbaum’s style is truly expressive, characterized by a refined use of color and texture that richly embellish her paintings. The warm tones of her palette bring sunshine to the streets of her magical cities of Israel.