web analytics
August 21, 2014 / 25 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » Sections » Arts »

Divine Encounter and the Sacred Doorway


McBee-Richard

Robert Kirschbaum: Small Paintings from The Akedah Series

The Gallery at Three Rivers: Three Rivers Community College

574 New London Turnpike, Norwich, CT  – 860-886-0177

November 1 – December 2, 2011

 

Our encounters with the Divine are precious moments of personal religiosity.  We believe that when we pray we are speaking directly to God and that at that moment we are in the Divine presence.  And yet we are seldom conscious of the awe and fear we should also feel.

For many, at the core of Jewish monotheism is terror.  Its source is in Chapter 22 of Genesis, the story known as the Binding of Yitzchak.  God‘s faithful servant, Avraham, has been ordered to take his beloved 37-year-old son, (a child he had at the miraculous age of 100) and offer him as a sacrifice.   After a three-day journey Avraham has bound his son Yitzchak, placed him on the altar and grasped the knife to follow God’s command.  At the very last moment an angel calls out, “Avraham, Avraham…do not stretch out your hand against the lad nor do anything to him.”

Akedah #51 (2008-2009) Mixed media on paper 9” x 8” by Robert Kirschbaum Courtesy the artist.

Avraham’s blind obedience to God causes him to brutally suppress his innate kindness and love for his son, as well as abandoning his expectation to fulfill God’s original promise to “make of you a great nation.” The sudden transformation of Avraham from loving father to child-slaughterer to father again was no less wrenching for Yitzchak, who was ready to be a victim, only to be replaced by a miraculously produced ram.  The shared near-death experience creates the terror of not knowing what an all-powerful and yet inscrutable God will command next.  One is simply rendered helpless and terrified.

Nonetheless, the tragedy is averted and Avraham has successfully completed God’s final test of the depth of his faith.  Yitzchak marries and produces his sons Yaakov and Esav.  This narrative that effectively concludes Avraham’s dialogue with God is Yitzchak’s introduction to the God he will call his own and pass on to the Children of Yisrael.  This God, transcendent and ultimately unknowable, is known as Pachad Yitzhak, the Fear of Isaac (Genesis 31:42).  This encounter between God and man is the subject of Robert Kirschbaum’s Akedah Series.

The ten paintings currently on view at the Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, Connecticut, are mixed media on paper, all 9” x 8” and created in 2008.  While modest in scale, Kirschbaum’s utilization of abstract elements effectively narrates the biblical text of the Binding of Yitzchak while taking it to a surprising and dramatically creative conclusion.

Each of the 10 images he creates repeats a scene in which a limited number of elements operate.  A band approximately one-fifth of the page wide flows across the top and bottom, repetitive and yet with enough variation to engender visual interest.   Dividing the pages into three registers, with the center panel always the largest, allows the artist to introduce rectangular shapes that grow, multiply, morph into 10 floating cubes, disappear, appear and finally become mysteriously a kind of doorway. Predominately black marks on a white ground set a constant tenor to the series, linking all the images.  A very selective introduction of color against the black and white allows it to evoke disproportionate emotional power.  Considering the limited color and repeated format, each of the works is surprisingly rich in the range of marks, calligraphy, gestures, shapes and pictorial space brought to bear on this extremely perplexing subject.   While not immediately apparent, Kirschbaum is constantly walking the fine line between abstraction and symbolic representation.

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 “Divine Encounter and the Sacred Doorway”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
landingt Schedule Aug 21 2014
Live Update: Despite Hamas Threats, Plane Landing at B-G Airport (Last Update: 7:13am)
Latest Sections Stories
(L-R) Rabbis Tzvi Mandel, Akiva Stolper, Meir Borovetz, Yochanan Ivri and Shlomo Rizel. (Not shown: Rabbi Shmaya Modes.)

A CPE class at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn was tailor made for Orthodox participants.

Lewis-081514-Anna-Ticho

“I didn’t choose the landscape; it chose me.”

Astaire-081514

Woe to us that we have to be put to death like common heathen and murderers!

The world sees the hand of God through us, and does not like it.

The Rebbetzin began campaigning to increase public awareness of the importance of saying Amen.

Some educators today believe that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder falls into an executive function category.

It’s ironic that the reality of death is often the greatest force steering the affirmation of life.

The theme of the event was “Together Let us Rebuild our Holy Beis HaMikdash on Tisha B’Av.”

Chaya Aydel Seminary has already established a close connection with France’s Jewish community.

All attendees left with fervent wishes for a swift and lasting peace in Israel.

How can awareness evolve from exploding stars?

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.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/arts/divine-encounter-and-the-sacred-doorway-2/2011/10/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: