Brightly coloured houses lined up against tall mountains and above them a clear blue sky? An abstract configuration of squares, triangles and circles? Whatever we see in The Rock, its vibrancy inspires exuberance and delight, its wonderful simplicity conveying happiness and optimism. The use of colours and the loose brushstrokes draw associations to folk art, as the indefinable green, red and white shapes allude to the imaginary worlds of children's drawings. Seen against the backdrop of Tal R's larger oeuvre, however, we can almost expect there to be more than one level to this initial reading. For a start, the presence of square and circular forms, hard and soft, is likely to be an illusion to the duality between male and female, and the triangular peaks towards the top of the painting are reminiscent of many works by Wassily Kandinsky and his Blaue Reiter group in the early twentieth century, who used this shape as a sign of spirituality. Tal R has frequently made clear his fascination for the abject and the Freudian, and it seems likely that such inspirations are reflected in his paintings.
'... under their apparent simplicity and flamboyance, their seeming willingness to embrace everything great and small, worthy and ignoble, is a sense of darkness and betrayal. You don't really notice this at first: all that is perceptible is a slight unease, as if things aren't quite what they're supposed to be.' (J. Hutchinson and Douglas Hyde Gallery, Tal R: House of Prince, exh. cat., 2005)