Hagit Barkai


M.F.A. Penn State University
B.A. Hebrew, University of Jerusalem


Painting for me is a process of making visible something that is difficult, and very often it is also about the difficulty in making some things visible. Through painting, I face things that I was taught not to see, things that I am persuaded to dismiss, deny, or be ashamed of.

I'm fascinated by subtle awkwardness of the body when it is failing to look like a body with a clear identity or purpose. I see those failures as unintentional carriers of freedom and as signs that escaped indoctrination, as if the body resists being an image and refuses to represent something other than itself.

At Davidson, I teach classes of painting and drawing and speak to students about their individual projects. In my classes, students experiment with variety of materials, learn fundamental technique, and are encouraged to use materials that are most suitable to explore their ideas.They reflect on the way images function in their lives and read texts that challenge ideas about beauty, sensations, and art.

I ask students to take risks with embarrassing ideas, be willing to fail seriously, to be comfortable with confusion and uncertainty, and to keep progressing through it until clarity rises from what they create.