I WAS INTRODUCED TO LETTERPRESS PRINTING AND ARTIST’S BOOKS WHILE STUDYING PRINTMAKING IN GRADUATE SCHOOL.
WORKING IN MULTIPLES, COMBINING WORD AND IMAGE, AND INVESTIGATING THE BOOK FORMAT SET THE COURSE FOR MY WORK UNTIL NOW.
AS A FREELANCE GRAPHIC DESIGNER, I CREATED COMMISSIONED KETUBOT. I REALIZED THAT A DECORATED KETUBAH COMBINES WORD AND IMAGE TO CREATE A SINGLE VISUAL STATEMENT CONNECTING MY “JEWISH” ART WITH MY “FINE” ART THAT WAS NON-OBJECTIVE AT THAT TIME.
BY THE END OF GRAD SCHOOL I WAS CREATING ART INFORMED BY MY JEWISH IDENTITY AND JEWISH CULTURE. I HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT WORKING FROM A SPECIFIC THAT BECOMES UNIVERSAL IS A LEGITIMATE STARTING PLACE FOR ARTISTIC INVESTIGATION.
Empty Cities, a mixed media installation, was the centerpiece of my 2019 solo show at K. Oss Contemporary in Detroit, Michigan. The title references a verse in the Book of Lamentations: “How she sits alone, the city once great with people.”
Empty Cities (installation view and detail) - mixed media collages mounted on laser cut fiberboard
THE PIECE ITSELF IS COMPOSED OF FIVE SEPARATE MIXED MEDIA COLLAGES MOUNTED ON LASER-CUT FIBERBOARD, AND EVOKES CITY SKYLINES, OR CHARTS OR WATER LINES, OR SOUND WAVES, OR A SCROLL/BOOK UNFURLED.
The ovals are elements that I have used in my work beginning with a series I created after September 11: they represent emptiness and suggest the idea that each life lost is an entire galaxy, and that our lives overlap and connect with others.
Several years ago, I was invited to contribute to an anthology of essays about the Book of Exodus.
THE VERSE THAT STARTED THAT BODY OF WORK WAS EXODUS 17:14: “AND G-D SAID TO MOSES “WRITE THIS AS A MEMORIAL IN A BOOK.”
WHAT WAS INTERESTING TO ME IS THAT THIS FIRST MENTION OF WRITING A MEMORY DOWN, OF RECORDING IT IN A “BOOK,” SOMETIMES TRANSLATED AS SCROLL.
THE BOMBERG VARIATIONS SERIES is inspired by the iconic innovative layout of Talmud pages by Venetian printer Daniel Bomberg who was a Christian printer of the Renaissance.
Bomberg’s Venetian printshop worked with Jewish colleagues to produce the first edition of the Talmud while setting the aesthetic and technical bar impossibly high.
MY STUDIO HAS BECOME A REFUGE. I’VE BEEN FOCUSED ON TWO PROJECTS:
ONE IS A LONG OVERDUE ARTIST’S BOOK PROJECT, BASED ON A NOTED NOVELIST’S SHORT STORY. HAVING THIS TIME TO GET BACK TO THAT PROJECT HAS ALLOWED ME TO MAKE REAL PROGRESS.
THE OTHER PROJECT IS MY ONGOING INVESTIGATION INTO JEWISH WOMEN’S ROLES IN EARLY HEBREW PRINTING. I WILL MOST LIKELY SHOW IT IN 2022, SO HAVING THIS TIME TO THINK AND PLAN IS A GIFT.
All photos courtesy of the artist