web analytics
September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
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 »

Leonard Everett Fisher’s Challenge


McBee-101411-FrontPg

Interestingly enough, more than thirty years later Fisher returned to the subject of Moshe in an illustrated book of the same name.  Here the lawgiver lovingly holds the tablets in a deep and tortured contemplation.  We see the mountain behind him with the long mass of the Jewish people at its base.  We immediately understand Moshe’s concern that this people will not cherish the Law as he does.  They are tragically fated to stray.

Jonah (detail) (1964), gelatin tempera on board by Leonard Everett Fisher. Courtesy Peter and Carol Mack Collection.

The figure of Jonah is seen from above, floating in an abstracted well meant to evoke the giant fish’s innards.  His hands and forearms stick out from his sides in helplessness, defenseless against God’s judgment.  But it is the absolutely stunned expression on Yonah’s face that cuts to the heart of Fisher’s vision.  The artist has convincingly plumbed the soul of the prophet who momentarily thought he could escape God’s command.  He is confronted by his own rebellion and terrified by its consequences.  We can easily see from this how the sprout of repentance must grow and be nurtured.

The cleverest painting in the exhibition is Noah.  He stands inside the ark peering out its window at a dove in mid-flight bearing an olive branch in its beak.   As we have observed before the bird in mid-air is a hallmark of Fisher’s style complemented by the solid wooden construction of the ark.  But it is the play between Noah’s hands and facial expression that truly animates the painting.  His hands tell us that he is about to do something – either to grasp the bird or to formulate a thought.  The notion of being on the threshold of action is then concretized by the concentrated thought in his expression.  Pursed lips and intense staring eyes tell us Noah has just realized the meaning of the dove returning with the olive branch.  The fact that somewhere on dry land there is an olive tree tells him that soon he will be able to exit the ark with his family and all the animals and begin the process of recreating earthly life.  Fisher’s focus on this moment of revelation narrates into Noah’s story, telling us he didn’t know exactly how God would conclude the destruction of the world.   The artist has uncovered the narrative of hope and faith in Noah’s tale.

The distinction between illustration and art is that illustration describes what the viewer already knows.  Its details, textures and visual delights confirm a well-known visual universe.  Art does something totally different.  Art tells us what we don’t already know.  Art reveals the hidden and realizes a new truth, surprising and thrilling the viewer with discovery.  Leonard Everett Fisher’s artworks do exactly that as he casts his insightful eye on biblical figures and the world around us alike.

 

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

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 “Leonard Everett Fisher’s Challenge”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A general view of the Bat Ain community at Gush Etzion.
US Pushes PA Agenda and Tells Israel to Cancel New Gush Etzion Town
Latest Sections Stories
LBJ-082914

What better proof do we need than the recent war with Hamas in Gaza, dubbed “Operation Protective Edge,” that transformed the pain and suffering of three families into a sense of unparalleled unity and outpouring of love of the entire nation of Israel?

Katzman-082914

So many families are mourning, and all along we mourned with them.

Astaire-082914

In addition to his great erudition, Rabi Akiva was known for his optimism.

Kupfer-082914-Chuppah

She told me that she was busy and that he could sit in his wet clothes for the rest of the day. It would teach him to be more careful.

What can we do to help him stop feeling so sad all the time?

Children with dyslexia or dysgraphia frequently have problems in social relationships.

Israel’s neighbors engaged in hostilities from the onset. The War of Independence was a hard-won battle. Aggression and enmity has followed for 66 years.

The contest will include student-created sculpture, computer graphic design, collage, videography, PowerPoint and painting.

David, an 8-year-old boy on the autism spectrum, recently attended a Friendship Circle event. As he entered he told his Dad, “I love coming to the FC programs ‘cause everyone loves each other.”

Goldsmith himself went on his own “voyage of discovery” to the places where his grandfather and uncle landed and were sent.

Frank proclaimed himself Zvi’s successor and the reincarnation of King David.

You’re probably wondering why the greatest advocate of fast and easy preps in the kitchen is talking about layer cakes, right?

Almost immediately the audience began singing and clapping and continued almost without stop throughout the rest of the concert.

As of late, vintage has definitely been in vogue in the Orthodox community.

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/leonard-everett-fisher%e2%80%99s-challenge/2011/10/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: