web analytics
May 29, 2015 / 11 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Home » Sections » Arts »

Unconditional Love


Torah Ark Door (back); Egypt, 11th century with later carving and paint; Wood (walnut) with traces of paint and brass; The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (64.181) and Yeshiva University Museum (2000.231)

Torah Ark Door (back); Egypt, 11th century with later carving and paint; Wood (walnut) with traces of paint and brass; The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (64.181) and Yeshiva University Museum (2000.231)

Falk’s choice of graphic novel techniques, utilizing mostly flat color with little modulation, highly cropped images replete with explicit pictorial symbols unfortunately tends to deplete the poetic potential of the visual medium, trapping the images in an illustrational mode. Paradoxically, in a poem known for its strong female voice, at least some of Falk’s images betray a male gaze, subverting at least one aspect of unconditional love desired.

S. Ansky’s “The Dybbuk, or Between Two Worlds: A Dramatic Legend in Four Acts” (1912-1917) presents a radically different prospect. While the tragic tale of two lovers, Channon and Leah, has an infinitely more complex prelude than the figures in Song of Songs, the final consummation of their relationship, the dybbuk (Channon’s soul) fusing with the soul of his beloved, Leah, more importantly results in their mutual death. This form of unconditional love leading to the ultimate “unity and shedding of duality through an act of love” is pure romanticism quite foreign to Judaism’s fervent affirmation of life in this world.

Falk’s four oil paintings from “The Dybbuk” successfully encapsulate the spirit of Ansky’s narrative, depicting the development of Leah’s character as it is affected by the tortured soul of Channon. The last painting shows them soaring over the nighttime village synagogue in a spiritual “resurrection.” The scene in which the dybbuk within Leah verbally attacks the father of her intended groom is a nightmarish evocation of a schizophrenic episode. Equally unnerving is Leah’s tortured reclining on the graves. In each of these images there is more than a little tinge of madness that permeates the drama. Most of all in the first painting: The Dybbuk: Leah and Channon, in which Channon’s first awkward confrontation with Leah from the shadows of the brilliantly lit shul, the haunted red-eyed gaze of Channon convinces us of the impossibility of a love unhinged and driven by totally external dictates (the irrational vows made by their fathers before they were even born). In these images Falk’s lurid color and illustrational style well serves the tragic narrative, driving home (perhaps paradoxically) the perverse consequences of untempered unconditional love.

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 “Unconditional Love”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
What's happened to NYC's Celebrate Israel Parade?
Israel Rejects as ‘False’ UJA Federation’s Claims about Israel Parade ‘Inclusion’
Latest Sections Stories
Respler-logo-NEW

When I complain, she tells me it is retail therapy.

West-Coast-logo

Tal Dimenstein has been selected to present her ELI Talk about Appreciation during this year’s conference in Chicago.

How is it possible that some of our people cannot see what I see, the miracle of the existence of the state of Israel?

Birobidzhan railway station sign is the world’s only one spelling the town’s name in Yiddish letters

She’s seen as a poster child for The Jewish Home’s efforts to reach beyond its Orthodox base.

Girls don’t usually learn Gemara. Everyone knows that.

Mordechai and his men shared a strong mutual loyalty.

“Can I wear tefillin in the bathroom?” That was the question US Private Nuchim Lebensohn wrote to Mike Tress, president of the Agudath Israel Youth Council, in a letter dated November 18, 1942. Lebensohn was not your typical young American GI. Polish by birth, he was forty-three years old and married when he was drafted […]

To what extent is your child displaying defiance?

This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.

Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.

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/unconditional-love/2013/11/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: