Themes addressed in The Invisible Jew exhibition at Detour Gallery:
ERASURE, THE WOMEN’S SECTION / SEPARATION, EMPOWERMENT,
MIKVEH / IMPURITY, PURITY, IDENTITY and INEQUALITY.
Detour Gallery, 24 Clay Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701
On view June 24th to July 12th, 2018, Tue-Sat, 9-5, by appointment. Tel. 732-704-3115
Curator: Goldie Gross. Co-curator: Yona Verwer. Curatorial advisor: Faigie Roth.
Tzipi Livni is a symbol of a powerful woman, yet in this campaign poster in Jerusalem, her face was whitewashed by a population who believe that the image of a woman should not be visible to the public or advertised openly. – Leah Raab.
Judaism and Torah are beautiful, but in many cases, I felt that the rigid nature of the Haredi system prevents the expression of creativity and creates frustration, pain and solitude… I believe we are still in this deep exile because too many Jews are trapped and living in the rigid darkness of the “black OR white.” – Daniel Baerwald.
The more invisible a woman is made to be, the more imposing her presence becomes. The dream of her non-existent existence is male fantasy pitted against the truth of vision. – Joan Roth
Lee Krasner. So much more than the wife of Jackson Pollack. – Oren Herschander
On the intervening days of Sukkot and Passover, known as Chol Hamoed, multitudes of Hasidic families head for Astroland amusement park (now defunct) and the seaside of Coney Island. There I have photographed a fear of secular influences, yet universal sense of humor and passion for life. – Marcia Bricker Halperin.
In 2011, I noticed that the women were disappearing. I choose to celebrate these disappearing females. So for now, whenever I see a story that didn’t include a photo, or whenever I notice the absence of a story (because folks, those are disappearing too, you know) I put it on my board. I save them in my small corner of the internet. They will NOT disappear, because, well…here they are. On my board. – Ann Koffsky
Using lace I found in my grandmother’s drawer, I pushed paint through the lace holes, and onto the memory jar paintings. It was my way to remember and honor her work as a woman who served her husband and had no way to escape. – Alison Horvitz.
Anna Roberts I began to notice it more and more, the women’s and children’s photos who were not there when photos of men were. Instead I saw flowers and blurred out faces and graphics of women or women’s items like shoes or makeup. –
Using images of models and pop stars whose usual manner of dress would not qualify as tzniut, helps me bring some questions to the fore. Does covering up the body with long sleeves and skirts make you a modest person? What else is needed? And, is this something to strive for? – Miriam Stern
THE WOMEN’S SECTION / SEPARATION
Hidden from view, view is hidden. What’s the difference? How could a woman standing here not think that she was not wanted? The women’s section feels like a prison. Perhaps she will raise up her voice in prayer and defiance. -Jeane Vogel.
In this work I use painting as a way to examine and better understand my reality. Where do I fit in as an Orthodox woman who can see, yet isn’t seen? – Nechama Markowitz.
I am seeking to understand the roots of the confinement and separation, and the effects that movement and space can have on one’s own perception of one’s self, one’s freedom, one’s ability, one’s voice. – Florence Nasar
I first came across this amazing poem by Chaya Lester in 2014. Her poem is poignant, with words about the silencing of orthodox Jewish women’s voices, as they hand their infant sons over the mechitzah for their ritual circumcision, sitting silently, unable to witness nor participate. The book is itself a mechitzah—lace is silkscreened on one side. Yet the side that matters- with the poem and with these strong and defiant words, lies on the other side… – Andi Arnovitz
This subject is close to my heart, as I live in Jerusalem, Israel, and my siblings are all Charedi. Therefore I have much exposure to the secondary place of women in this society and many opportunities to observe the disparities between men and women. It is also perfectly proper for me to be using my camera at these events, and I intersperse traditional family photographs with my more subversive shots. – Ruth Schreiber
In Carpentras, the site of the oldest synagogue in use in France, women sat behind a grill, and they sat in an area below the main level, twice removed. – Cynthia Beth Rubin.
Orthodox women in the women’s section of the Western Wall, immersed in prayer. Seen but unseen, lit by sunbeams through the construction of more sacred space. – Dorit Jordan Dotan
[Some] adhere to the strict interpretation of the words “Kol B’Isha Erva,” which means that the voice of a woman is like nakedness or the “pubic region.”- Billha Zussman.
This woman is strong enough to believe in her own truth and her own sense of right. And my belief is that people are intelligent enough to understand the reality of life. Only through unity as a human beings, not divided by race or gender, can we achieve the best in our development as a society. – Irina Chtypel.
Present and Accounted For! is a stone sculpture depicting stability and fragility. – Shosh Cohen.
Women are traditionally represented in art and Jewish text as humble or modest in their achievements, often undercutting their strength and undermining their accomplishments. In my work I play with these expectations and attempt to subvert or upend them and explore new ways to represent the “super women” of Jewish tradition. – Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik.
The Kissing Wall painting, made with lipstick, depicts the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and its traditional Jewish Ritual. – Ronit Levin Delgado
MIKVEH / IMPURITY
I cannot be appointed to a Beit Din, issue halakhic rulings or lead a community. The only avenue left open to me is to use my professional tools as an artist and a filmmaker and make my voice heard by means external to the religious world.- Nurit Jacobs Yinon on “A Tale of a Woman with a Robe,” which caused the Ministry of Religious Services to change their regulations to forbid dayanim from standing directly in front of the mikveh.
The Book of Yona 15 echoes the artists’ own journeys, both from Europe to New York, and from Catholicism to Judaism. Conversion to Judaism requires ritual immersion, a submersion of the body into a pool of water in order to symbolize a “change of soul”. The water thus symbolizes birth as a Jew. In this work a nude female is undergoing the final stage of conversion. In orthodox Jewish conversions, three male rabbis (the Beit Din) are required to witness this immersion, which can be rather embarrassing for the female convert. – Yona Verwer + Katarzyna Kozera.
Hostage is a study of the intrusion and authority of Jewish religious patriarchy over women’s bodies. – Rena Bannett.
In this grouping, I reflect on how traditional women experience societal exclusion during their periods. – Gabriella Boros.
This Flower is Not for You is about our perceived relationship to girls, to beauty, and how we make assumptions based on appearances. – Joanna Dion Brown.
We are all taught that we are created in the image of God and I wanted to explore the intersection between the physical body and the image of the divine name. – Sarah Zell Young.
When I sense the painting authentically reflects an element of my own vulnerabilities: being a woman, loneliness, sensitivity, being Jewish… it is complete. – Joyce Judith Polance.
Facial features and names define a person’s uniqueness or individuality. By removing these fundamental characteristics one removes the “selfness” of the person. -Joyce Ellen Weinstein.
These works are intimately connected to the female body, women’s presence in the spiritual and art world, the power of female voice and the need to be heard. – Tali Margolin.
It took becoming an adult to realize that I don’t need to accept my given role in the Jewish community–rather I can do whatever I want, and be seen. – Yehudis Keller.
As a child, I was very fortunate to be in a vibrant Chasidic community that also celebrated my creativity. While erasure of images of women and girls is not a practice in my community (as it is in others), there is a strong emphasis on modest dress. It is something I still practice, and may explain my discomfort showing my body in any public way. However, the discomfort encouraged me to find other forms of representing the body and myself. – Leah Caroline.
The apple represents virginity and the plexi-glass box represents the invisible force of (Sephardic) community ideals.- Fortune Chalme.
Like an Unwrapped Present is my reaction to the idea that the young woman exists for her husband. It is my response to the tendency I find in my community to not consider a woman accomplished until she is married, as if finding a partner is the true marker of success. It is my answer to the “soon by you”s and the race to find a husband before the ripe old age of 21. – Goldie Gross.
I am seven years old and will be in second grade… I feel boys and girls should be treated the same, but sometimes I feel boys are treated more special – in books that I read, movies I see, in shul, and in school. – Hadar Oppenheim.
In religious circles, Tamar is seen as a hero, who takes matters into her own hands and by will alone, inherits the holy birthright. In secular terms, she is seen as tragic figure for having to sleep with her father-in-law. It is this dichotomy I am exploring. – Joel Silverstein.
In this work, East and West come together to illustrate a universal phenomenon: the placing of onus on women for the behavior of men. – Lenore Cohen Mizrachi.
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