About My Paintings

Hidden Presence

Book of Esther P2

Book of Esther P2

 

So much is not what it seems.

A young, beautiful girl is forced to marry a king she barely knows. She has to keep her ethnicity hidden; yet when the time comes she stands up for her nation and saves it from annihilation by a genocidal maniac. Though she is a powerful queen, she must risk her life by visiting the king without permission. She has to decide whether to be the agent of change in her people’s salvation, or just another anonymous victim. In the end, G-d chooses to be a hidden presence and to save the Jewish people through her actions.

A young, beautiful girl is forced to marry a king she barely knows. She has to keep her ethnicity hidden; yet when the time comes she stands up for her nation and saves it from annihilation by a genocidal maniac. Though she is a powerful queen, she must risk her life by visiting the king without permission. She has to decide whether to be the agent of change in her people’s salvation, or just another anonymous victim. In the end, G-d chooses to be a hidden presence and to save the Jewish people through her actions.

The young woman is named Esther. Her name comes from the Hebrew, Hester, meaning hidden. Each spring for two millennia, the Jewish people have celebrated her story of salvation from evil by telling her story and dressing in costume to make present the hidden in ourselves. I cannot help but love the courageous, beautiful heroine of the story who risks her life for her people. Yet it is not only Esther’s bravery that intrigues me, but also the hidden nature of divine intervention. I love being part of a tradition that analytically parses text apart, and struggle to believe in that which we don’t see or can’t touch.

I love to read stories full of ambiguity and contemplate holes in the text. In the Jewish tradition, our stories are told and retold and we reexamine and question them again always looking for new insights. Our heritage values the question, often answering questions with more questions.

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Vermont Stories

Vessel W#3

Vessel W#3

In the past several decades there has been talk about the death of painting.

In fact, quite the opposite is true. Paintings are the antidote to a society that is built on speed and immediate gratification. Making paintings – and viewing them – forces people to be quiet and still. As long as painters find ways to reinvent the language of paint to include contemporary ideas and manners of applying paint, then the medium will continue to be relevant. Art challenges viewers. People often look at figurative or objective work and think they know what the artist intended; so often these precursory judgments are not accurate and the works of art are much more complicated than they first appear. The same viewer will often be intimidated by abstract art and refuse even to try and engage with it.

For me, though, abstraction is the attempt to find new ways to explore ideas and stories. Though it may not be readily apparent in the finished product, my art emerges out of a narrative; but I don’t believe in stories that are simple and straightforward. The more I seek the narrative, the more paradoxical and complicated it seems to become. As these narratives are put into paint, I am forced to be still and consider color, line, composition and texture, and to contemplate each mark as it impacts the work as a whole.

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it does not belong to me

Yaakov Blesses Yehuda P#1

Yaakov Blesses Yehuda P#1

I like to test boundaries and explore contradictions.

If there is one quality that embodies my life it is that I constantly struggle with ideas, values, beliefs and practices that appear to be so obviously conflicting to the rest of the world. I consider myself to be an Orthodox Jew and a Feminist, and in so doing I struggle with melding a patriarchal 3,000-year old tradition with a 21st-century college-educated Feminist perspective.

As an artist, I find the solitary moments in my studio to be the most profound moments of my life; yet, I seek the tradition and ritual that binds my to a community. I love to study Jewish texts that date back thousands of years and find new insights and ways of reading ambiguities contained within them, and then deal with them in the aesthetics of abstract art. I find meaning in the struggle to prove that these qualities can coexist in my life and in my art.

These tensions imbue my paintings and drawings with deeply personal meanings….

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