CM: Ogenia Arbitman chooses to paint portraits of people she knows well, that is women from her immediate environment. Although she feels to know these people, painting is her means of exploring them further, beyond voyeurism and photography, as a friend who wishes to deepen the relationship. She claims "I seek an expression that renounces the portraiture's social meaning and public function and gives away some uncertainty and contemplation." Her brushstrokes capture ordinary details of life of change and movement. The portraits of Claudia and Luisa are painted quickly with oil paint 'alla prima', a technique in which the artist begins and ends a painting in a single sitting. The painting is not preceded by sketches and is characterized by free, quick brushstrokes and a spontaneous style. Thus time becomes a tight, binding frame which is both pressing and challenging.
Arbitman uses paper since it is more suitable for the quick work, absorbs well and the paint dries in a short time. Nava Harel Shoshani says that though "her paintings transmit a feeling that the 'model' had to run off before she was done with the painting, she still manages to catch some of the essence of what she was pursuing".
Nava Harel Shoshani writes "Within the quality time the painter has with the sitter, they talk, fill each other in about their lives and share stories. However, Arbitman is not interested in telling the stories, but rather have her presence felt in the glance, the expression in a way that radiates from the portrait without the need for words. It is humanity and not femininity that she finds fascinating in women. The atmosphere around them, the closeness, the strength and sophistication they transmit. She focuses on the head and the face. That is where the expression is, the color. Women, she says, color the space around them, echoing dreams. Quality time is her time with them, time for her brush, time that creates challenges and dictates the pace of brushstrokes, but does not detract from the quality of the paintings."
Arbitman says "Luisa is my neighbor in Yokneam. She is married and has four kids and a dog, but essentially she is an independent mercury-quick spirit with a great sense of humor and endless curiosity and resourcefulness. She was born near Venice, Italy and has been travelling around the world alone from an early age. In some places she would stop for longer periods of time, explore, have a boyfriend and learn the languages until she masters them fully. Due to a combination of circumstances, she put her anchor here, in Israel. To paint her was probably more frustrating than usual since she does around 5 things at a time. She was doing her homework, since she now studies to be a tourist guide, talking to David, laughing, etc. and the last thing on her mind was to sit still and pose. I actually yelled at her to get her stop for a minute."