web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » Sections » Arts »

Shuls On My Mind: Robert Feinland’s Paintings

Synagogue for the Arts (2000), oil on linen by Robert Feinland. Courtesy Chassidic Art Institute

Synagogue for the Arts (2000), oil on linen by Robert Feinland. Courtesy Chassidic Art Institute

Feinland returned to the roots of his faith in the last decade as he concentrated on urban paintings of the Crown Heights neighborhood. The mikveh at Union Street and the venerable Chovevei Torah synagogue naturally figured in his gaze. Not surprisingly 770 Eastern Parkway became a major motif for Feinland to explore. After being away for so many years, his repeated visitations over the last 14 years have earned him the reputation as a well-known neighborhood artist.

Conversations Under the Moon (2011), oil on linen by Robert Feinland. Courtesy Chassidic Art Institute

Almost half of Feinland’s paintings in this exhibition contain the iconic 770, depicted from different angles and at different seasons. The largest is a diptych, Conversations Under the Moon and was completed this last year after at least 20 outdoor sessions. It was well worth all the effort.

Feinland has again bent the space in the painting, applying an arching curvilinear perspective, to provide us with a palpable sense of almost two city blocks; from 770 itself, to the yeshiva and World Headquarters and past the modernistic Jewish Children’s Museum to the row houses that stretch to the corner of Albany Avenue. He has also broadened our view to include the Eastern Parkway Pedestrian Mall lined with park benches. The sidewalk is populated with dozens of young men, many talking on cell phones, and a handful of women with strollers, all enjoying what appears to be a sunny Spring morning. One is struck by the visual tension between the left panel, whose perspective seems to “normally” recede in the distance, and the street in front of 770 that sharply curves to accommodate a more frontal view of the architectural symbol of the Lubavitch movement. It is deeply significant that Feinland’s diptych manages to simultaneously resolve the perspectival conflict and yet maintain its tension. Central to the concept of curvilinear space is the notion of simultaneously different visual points of view. Here the two-part image combines the iconic 770 – the Rebbe’s seat of power and holiness – and the street stretching away into the more mundane world of the surrounding community.

Mitzvah Tank (2011), oil on Masonite by Robert Feinland. Courtesy Chassidic Art Institute

As is not surprising in Crown Heights, the Rebbe is never far from anyone’s consciousness. Mitzvah Tank is a quiet visual essay on the ubiquitous image of Rabbi Schneerson. A parked Mitzvah Tank (which is essentially a traveling shul), seen from the back, dominates the simple view of a tree-lined Crown Heights street. Situated in what is almost exactly the center of the painting is the Rebbe’s familiar image next to “Moshiach is Coming Now!” In the simplest of ways Feinland expresses a fundamental belief of an entire community.

Rebbe’s House (2002), oil on linen by Robert Feinland. Courtesy Chassidic Art Institute

About three blocks from 770 is the Rebbe’s personal house, now sitting unused. Feinland’s intense curvilinear image seems to echo the considerable amount of the controversy and tension over the great leader’s legacy. In the sweep of the three houses shown, his house is cast into dramatic relief, seeming to tower over the viewer just as the jagged tree on the foreground curb stabs the sky above. It is a painting of sharp angles and twisted forms that are held in place by the green grass lawn and stately pine tree immediately in front of the house itself. Like many of his best paintings, it manages to combine complexity, drama and commentary in a beautiful image.

As we all know the command to “draw close to Hashem” is a fundamental religious act. Once that was originally satisfied by offering sacrifices at the Temple and now, without a Temple, we minimally fulfill it by learning Torah and daily prayer. Robert Feinland’s synagogue paintings bend space with a curvilinear consciousness, bringing close houses of Jewish faith and belief, allowing the viewer to be brought close both visually and mentally. In his way his work becomes another avenue through which we can “draw close to Hashem.”

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 “Shuls On My Mind: Robert Feinland’s Paintings”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Herzilya's vertical cemetery vaults.
Police Disinter PA Arabs Sleeping Peacefully in Herzliya Graves
Latest Sections Stories
Kupfer-112114

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

Astaire-112114-Horse

There were many French Jews who jumped at the chance to shed their ancient identity and assimilate.

L to R: Sheldon Adelson, Shawn Evenhaim, Haim Saban

As Rabbi Shemtov stood on the stage and looked out at the attendees, he told them that “Rather than take photos with your cellphones, take a mental photo and keep this Shabbat in your mind and take it with you throughout your life.”

South-Florida-logo

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

Recently, Fort Lauderdale has been the focus of international news, and it has not been about the wonderful weather.

Rabbi Sacks held the position of chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth for 22 years until September 2013.

The event included a dvar Torah by student Pesach Bixon, an overview of courses, information about student life and a student panel that answered frequently asked questions from a student perspective.

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

“Grandpa,” I wondered, as the swing began to slow down, “why are there numbers on your arm?”

So the real question is, “How can we, as hosts, make sure our guest beds are comfortable?” Because your guests will never say anything.

It was a land of opportunity, a place where someone who wasn’t afraid of a little hard work, or the challenges of adapting to a different climate and culture, could prosper.

Rule #1: A wife should never accompany her husband to hang out with his buddies at a fantasy football draft. Unless beer and cigars are her thing, that is.

There are many people today with very little training who put out shingles and proclaim themselves to be marital coaches, shalom bayis helpers, advisers etc.

The two World Series combatants, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, were Wild Card teams (meaning they didn’t win their respective divisions) that got hot at the right time.

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/shuls-on-my-mind-robert-feinlands-paintings/2012/04/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: