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A Tradition of Embellishment: Exploring the Aesthetics of Jewish Arts

Join us for the second session in the virtual program series.

May 3rd, 2020, 10:30am-12:00pm EDT; 17:30-19:00 Israel time.

Facilitators: Cynthia Beth Rubin and Chana Wiesenthal Elias

10:30-11:30 Presentations

11:30-12:00 Open discussion with audience

Is there an identifiable Jewish sensibility or aesthetic, a Jewish way of thinking, that finds its genesis in a theological tradition of embellishing texts, ritual objects, religious music, and poetry as prayer? When we look at traditional Jewish texts, we see layers of meaning, layers of commentary and embellishments both visual and textual. In the Marseilles Bible, for example, the Biblical text is interspersed with carpet pages, which in turn are pages of decorative motifs derived from local Spanish architecture surrounded by micrography, little writing that winds around with comments and references.

As creative thinkers, our cultural distinction may not always be content driven, but is often reflected in the structuring of our creative output. We come from a tradition of ever evolving interpretations, of finding layers of meaning and of approaching a place from a multitude of viewpoints all at once, in even the seemingly most simple text. This is a forum to begin a discussion of how cultural motifs and layered thinking come together in the work of many Jewish artists, focusing on ideas and conceptual journeys.

Confirmed Participants

Leah Caroline

Chana Wiesenthal Elias

Bob Gluck

Beth Haber

JS Horseman

Judith Joseph

Leslie Klein

Cynthia Beth Rubin

This series of art studio visits is organized by the Jewish Art Salon, and co-sponsored by Art Kibbutz and JADA Arts.

Cynthia Beth Rubin is an early adopter of digital imaging, transitioning from paint in the 1980s.  Rubin’s prints, videos, and interactive works have been shown on the ICC tower façade in Hong Kong, the Jewish Museum in Prague, the Cotton Club screen in Harlem, the ICA in London, and the Jerusalem Biennale, and numerous international festivals featuring digital art, such as  ISEA and SIGGRAPH.  Equally fascinated by imagined memories of cultural history and with envisioning the unseen microscopic life of oceans and still waters, her works evoke narratives through interwoven layers of representation and abstraction, frequently combined with interactive experience.

Since 1990 Chana Wiesenthal Elias has created images with both a 4×5″ camera and 35mm using traditional films, Polaroid and digital photography. Her work explores the mythology and ethos of contemporary culture as it relates to identity, time and place, the construction and re-construction of memory, and the aesthetics of eroticism. Chana received her MFA from Bard in 1993 and her BFA from SUNY Purchase in 1989. She currently resides in Fort Lauderdale, FL and actively exhibits her work both nationally and internationally.

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