web analytics
October 2, 2014 / 8 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » Sections » Arts »

Archie Rand: Three Major Works

McBee-112511-Daniel

In this exhibition Rand and curator Slavin have offered the viewer invaluable textual references to each work.   The majority of the paintings are close to eye-level along with the wall labels creating a wonderfully user-friendly installation. This allows the viewer not only to orient the image in relationship to text, but also to contrast or in some cases ignore the text allowing the image to operate quite on its own, liberated from the original inspiration.  And this is crucial. Rand’s work is so deeply Jewish because it demands, like the Torah text itself, both a pshat (literal) meaning and a drash (homiletical) meaning, and refuses to be limited by either.

The “Chapter Paintings” were an early exploration of exactly how a visual language can express and appropriate sacred text and narrative.  Rand’s earlier work in the Syrian B’nai Yosef Synagogue (1977) on Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn approached similar material but was in many ways constrained by the dictates of the congregation and rabbinic supervision.  Acutely conscious of issues stemming from the second Commandment, there was no human representation.  Rand cautiously used Jewish symbols, landscape metaphors and liturgical texts to decorate all the walls of the main sanctuary, the balcony and the downstairs study halls.  The result was a one-of-a-kind totally decorated synagogue, a sacred space transformed into one of visual contemplation and a lush pictorial feast.

Ekev (1989), acrylic & mixed media on canvas, 36 x 24 by Archie Rand From “The Chapter Paintings,” courtesy the artist

Years later and now outside the synagogue walls, he was free to approach the Torah as a totally autonomous artist.  Rand produced in 1992 “Sixty Paintings from the Bible” that was a significant departure from his earlier methodology.  Here the paintings themselves imposed pertinent biblical texts on the viewer in the form of text balloons, even while depending upon an esoteric visual scaffolding.  That scaffolding was provided by a set of seventeenth century engravings, Icones Biblicae (1630) by the Christian artist Matthaeus Merian.  Rand’s appropriations are superficially similar to those of the widely reproduced Amsterdam Haggadah of 1695. The difference here is that Rand uses the images as a mere framework to “reassess the Tanach, get past the standard English translation and find the ‘punch’ of the original Hebrew.” The results are compelling.

Initially the images seem to be straightforward and literal depictions of the text.  But then one becomes aware of the enormous tension between the late Renaissance compositions, the eclectic postmodern color, and the large word balloons that virtually shout text at the viewer.  Rand demands our absolute attention by enlarging and underlining specific words to provide his very personal biblical commentary.  The prophet Isaiah pleads; “Lord, HOW LONG?” and his ancient cry becomes ours today, still in a perpetual Exile.  Likewise the prophet Daniel calmly facing a pride of lions, his hands clasped behind his back, assumes the role of the viewer in the image.  Darius demands “…Did your GOD save you from the lions?” and we acutely feel the trepidation and angst of our daily challenges.

In each of these “Sixty Paintings from the Bible” Rand utilizes underlined texts and vivid colors to shift our focus of well-known narratives in totally unexpected ways.  It is as if he went through all of Tanach and circled sixty passages as crucial and important because they represent the enormous richness of human diversity as we struggle in our lives within the Divine plan.

68:34 (1994) acrylic, enamel & marker on canvas by Archie Rand From “Psalm 68,” courtesy the artist

About the Author: Richard McBee is a painter and writer on Jewish Art. Contact him at rmcbee@nyc.rr.com


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Archie Rand: Three Major Works”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jan Morgan, owner of the Gun Cave Indoor Shooting Range.
Arkansas Shooting Range Declares Itself Muslim-Free Zone’
Latest Sections Stories
Israeli winery

“You want to know what this wine looked like, which wine King David drank, white or red…. We can see if it’s red or white, strong or weak.”

Mindy-092614-Choc-Roll

I should be pursuing plateaus of pure and holy, but I’m busy delving and developing palatable palates instead.

Schonfeld-logo1

Brown argues that this wholehearted living must extend into our parenting.

If we truly honor the other participants in a conversation, we can support, empathize with, and even celebrate their feelings.

I witnessed the true strength of Am Yisrael during those few days.

She writes intuitively, freely, and only afterwards understands the meaning of what she has written.

“I knew it was a great idea, a win-win situation for everyone,” said Burstein.

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

“I would really love my mother-in-law …if she weren’t my mother-in-law.”

For each weekly reading, Rabbi Grysman begins with a synopsis of the Torah portion, followed by a focus on a major issue.

It’s Rosh Hashanah. A new year. Time for a fresh start. Time for a new slate. Time for change.

Governor Rick Scott visited North Miami Beach/Aventura on the morning of Wednesday, September 17.

While the cost per student is higher than mainstream schools, Metzuyan Academy ESE is a priceless educational opportunity for children with special needs in South Florida.

Challah-pa-looza helped get the community ready and excited about the upcoming Jewish New Year.

More Articles from Richard McBee
Jerusalem to Jericho Road: photograph by Chanan Getraide
“Chanan Getraide Photographs”: 2004 exhibition at Hebrew Union College Museum

“We are living in a Golden Age of Jewish Art, but don’t know it.”

McBee-062014-Outside

He refuses to flinch from our painful history, perhaps finding a kind of solace in the consistency of irrational enmity directed against us.

“Vidduy: The Musical” breaks through the formidable barrier of repetitive confession to allow us to begin to understand what is at the heart of this fundamental religious act.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Silverstein’s work has long concerned itself with the intersection between the personal and Jewish Biblical narrative, significantly explored in this column in “Brighton Beach Bible” (July 27, 2009).

Not surprisingly the guardians of synagogue tradition is male dominated in both Moses Abraham, Cantor and Mohel and Synagogue Lamp Lighters.

Neither helpless victims nor able to escape the killer’s clutches, the leaders had to make impossible choices on a daily basis in a never-ending dance with the devil.

Bradford has opted to fully exploit the diverse possibilities of the physical surface by concentrating on the three-dimensional application of paint (impasto) and other material.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/arts/archie-rand-three-major-works/2011/11/24/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: