SEPTEMBER 13 – 26, 2018
Reception September 16, 2 – 4 p.m.
@ The Cultural Center, South Yarmouth , MA 02664
is an exhibition featuring 36, 8”x 10” Assemblages incorporating my biblical, historical, personal, religious, cultural and ethnic experiences as a Jew. Within these pieces are childhood drawings and writing, watercolor, pastel, charcoal, pencil, paint, ink, monotype and photography along with re-purposed images and found objects. What may appear to be ancient Hebrew writing is actually random text from old newspapers, used both as a design element meant to evoke sacred writing but adding a deliberate Dadaist element to the work. It is a kind of visual diary/biography expressing what it is like for me to be a Jew in the late 20th and early 21st century. These pieces have taken over five years to assemble, edit and reassemble until they came together as a cohesive whole.
In Talmudic thought, the number 36 is represented by the Hebrew letters lamed (30) and vav (6). It is believed that in every generation there are 36 righteous whose role in life is to justify the purpose of humankind in the eyes of God. Tradition holds that they remain unaware of each other and even if they ever came to a realization of their true purpose, they would never admit it. This is unlikely as they are believed to be scattered throughout the Diaspora. They are therefore known in Hebrew as the Lamed Vav Tzadikim (36 righteous ones) or in Yiddish, Lamedvavniks. The number 36 is also important in Judaic tradition because it is “twice chai” (or twice 18). The Hebrew letters for 18 also happen to spell the word for life and so are considered lucky.
The Torah commands that we include a techelef (blue) fringe among the fringes of the tzitzit (prayer shawl). There is some belief that the true color will not reemerge until the coming of the Messiah, but others believe they have found the shellfish responsible for creating the dye. A blue thread of some kind has been incorporated into each piece.
In creating the parameters for this project, I tried to encapsulate everything and everyone that connects me to my family history both ancient and modern. Whether it is my genetic ancestry or family losses in the pogroms in the Ukraine and the Holocaust, the history of the Jewish people and my own Jewish ancestors are inexorably united. Like the layers of an onion, each assemblage is an attempt to examine a piece of the puzzle that is me. I hope you find this work as meaningful to view as it has been for me to create it. Thank you for visiting my show.