I love stories full of ambiguity. In the Jewish tradition, stories are reexamined and questioned again and again always looking for new insights. Our heritage often answers questions with questions. As a visual artist, this same sensibility prevails. I love the paintings that are the least conclusive. I prefer to stand before a work ogling at the usage of paint and mark making to decipher a story or emotion hidden in the mystery of an abstract work.
My works have within them an idea originating in a philosophical or religious dilemma, often an ancient Jewish text, which I wrestle with in my studio practice. This problem provides a structure for each series of paintings – colors, shapes, underlying images, composition – that I then resolve through the aesthetics of the painting process.
My starting point in these paintings is the story of a young, beautiful girl forced to marry a king she barely knows, ushering in a crisis that is simultaneously ancient and modern. The girl has to keep her ethnicity hidden; yet when the time comes she risks her life to stand up for her nation and save it from a genocidal maniac. The young woman is named Esther, a name that in Hebrew means “hidden” and refers also to the mysterious nature of divine intervention.
In my current series of paintings, Book of Esther, the works relate to the Biblical story through symbolic images including crowns, maps of the Persian Empire and images from master paintings of Esther. The color palette reflects colors traditionally associated with royalty, including rich crimsons, violets, gold and silver. One of my aesthetic challenges is to take colors that are incongruous and juxtapose them to create a unified and absorbing image.
My pastel drawings challenge the way drawings are usually produced. In these works, I elevate drawing, which is typically thought of as less important than painting, by creating drawings from sketches made of completed paintings. I use a similar palette as the painting but use the sketch to create the armature for the drawing. Each studio session I shift the orientation so that I am challenged to think about the whole picture plane. Finally, I utilize the pastels in an additive and subtractive process so that the eraser is just as important as any of the pastels.
My collages use a similar palette to the works in the series. Their challenge is incorporating varied materials and handmade papers into a painting. Unlike the drawings, the collages are made by addition. The only subtractive process occurs through adding onto the layers beneath.
Our world values knowledge that can be proved, that is observable and logical. However, I am intrigued by the intuitive and emotive and other abstract aspects hidden beside the scientific and quantifiable. Through these works I challenge the viewer to look for and try to understand their hidden presence.