My art-making is my means of examining my emotion's meanings to disassemble inherited systems of judgements and reactions encoded in me by my Jewish Fundamentalist upbringing, the heritage I left at 21, breaking away from group to solo identity.
June 30 2017
What is this moment when we elect to live by our own authority? And how many moments over and over does this one singular moment repeat, and yet again: self and the contingent scary unknown which each time remains just as scary, just as life threatening, with all the mind circuits close to crashing overload beeping blaring flashing "Warning, Danger, Stay Away, or step on to what would appear to be the more predictable path though of course, there is really no such thing. And what are the underlying drivers? Is it fear? Courage? Shame? Drive? Pride? Instinct? Righteousness? Rightness? Anxiety? Confusion? There are so many strands to pick, tear, cut apart, or not. To be able to take the next step not only towards freedom but in freedom.
I kiss it. It's instinctual. Since very little, I’ve been taught: Lift the book up, bring forward, press to my lips, pucker, pull in, open, release - the faintest whisper of orgasm - though because I am a child, I cannot know this.
Inside are holy words and it is fidelity to what these words carry that I softly caress. These words, black ink on white paper, the Talmud, written by male sages who praise The Lord, extoll His virtues, ponder His brilliance, reasoning, motives for the laws that He has decreed to govern every moment of life, that I have been raised, as my parents and grandparents and greats before me, to follow and revere absolutely.
All male. On the 6,200 pages of written word that is the Talmud, the collection of Jewish laws and traditions, there is not one direct female voice. The years were 200 BCE to 500 CE when the Talmud was codified and to be fair, nowhere during this time period were there female voices in an overt position of authority. Still, as ancient as the Talmud is, the contents mandated my life and as a female they granted me no power. So when I came to stand at the fork in the road, the choice to leave Judaism or have my spirit die, I chose the former.
It's decades later, the year 2015 in my studio in Bed-Stuy.
I Rip (a page of the Talmud off the book spine).
I Tear it. Fold it. Wet it. Curl it. Stack it. Dry. Uncurl.
This that I'm creating, I call a Talmud Dred.
Talmud Dred. I’m taking ownership, asserting the feminine, taking the right to have a voice, be heard, what was denied me. I'm taking space, for the first time I can be safe inside my heritage. Secure, I can open my soul and recognize that all are my community.
Safe, I will let go of my anger and pain and call my family.
March 23, 2015
Back in the States and everyday life, I pushed deep down into denial "Is This All", until I could almost no longer breathe, until me, the essence, knew if I stayed I would die, cause, suffocation. I was fortunate in a way because I had achieved everything that was supposed to make me happy and this I was clearly not.
Nineteen months later I jumped ship so to speak, left my marriage, jettisoned, lept into the waves. What I did not know when my feet left the deck was that in choosing to define myself, my happiness, I was leaving a life, a faith, a society with very high boxed walls with glued-tight mortised corners constructed to control, to keep out life's randomness. And I? When my feet left the deck I ripped clear through my safety net.
My paintings reflect the continuing struggle between the desire to control life's journey and the inevitability of life's fundamental impermanence, a conflict evidenced in both it's process and content.
Each painting, begun and completed consecutively, is repeatedly resolved then purposefully destroyed when a new painting is applied on top. Acrylic paint is pooled then gouged with razor blades; paper is glued then abraded and stripped away; pigment is brushed on, then intentionally cracked; tape is fastened then torn; leaving a terrain of jagged edges, crevices and piles of sculpted matter that shape an encoded narrative. The present in it's immediacy is formed by the shadowed past.
The resulting works hope to reflect the quagmires of thoughtful existence - the complexity of doubt, seduction of certainty and the role of mortality in regeneration.