Artist Joshua Meyer’s “Eight Approaches” is debuting in full at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.
The paintings will be featured on Dec. 15th as part of the Museum’s Chanukah celebration with JArts and CJP.
Museum of Fine Arts
Schapiro Family Courtyard
465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115
2 Minute promo video.
“Eight Approaches” is a sequence of eight paintings, hung in a row, but it is really about the spaces in-between the paintings. Consequently, it is about the spaces in-between people and ideas. First I’ll digress, then I’ll try to explain.
My paintings have been circling two themes: light and time. Light is how we see and try to understand. Time is about how we change—questioning whether art can hold multiple, competing truths. I paint people over time by layering thick paint. Each daub holds a memory, and when they overlap, you can see time elapse.
These two themes converge in Chanukah, marking the passing of time with light. The eight paintings look a bit like side-by-side triptych paintings, narrative comic-book panels or film stills, and of course the eight-armed chanukiah. The paintings will almost coalesce into a narrative.
While my themes are universal, seeing them through the prism of Jewish thought will add richness and depth. Context is crucial to this work. “Eight Approaches” begins by using the teachings, rituals and traditions of Chanukah as a lens to think about art and ourselves. The goal, really, is to explore these cross-pollinating ideas, opening up a dialogue. Ideally this giant, almost-but-not-quite chanukiah will open up a dialogue about the diversity and complexity of Jewish identity, community, and tradition.
I hope to engage viewers in a complicated, Rashomon-like story with eight different approaches, veering into abstraction. Art has an ability to hold competing truths, and Judaism loves this complexity too. We love to answer a question with a parable—from Chassidic Tales to Kafka and Midrash—so we can enter and engage. I hope viewers can tell their own stories about it and consider how and why the eight slices are juxtaposed. I hope the paintings will cause the audience to add their own stories, weaving and sorting the coincidences and contradictions.