web analytics
July 24, 2014 / 26 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » Sections » Arts »

Visions At An Exhibition

Jonah (2013) 48 x 48, oil on linen by Shany Saar. Courtesy the artist.

Jonah (2013) 48 x 48, oil on linen by Shany Saar. Courtesy the artist.

Paintings by Leah Raab and Shany Saar
New York Studio School MFA Thesis Exhibition
May 8 – 22, 2013

Whether it is the disastrous report of the 12 spies or the furious condemnation that doomed an entire generation to die in the wilderness, the Torah narrative in Bamidbar turns terribly grim after the glorious inauguration of the Mishkan in the second year after leaving Egypt. With this in mind, just imagine my surprise at an encounter with two artists who address these (and other Biblical) themes right around the corner. Leah Raab and Shany Saar recently showed their work at the prestigious New York Studio School (8th Street and Fifth Avenue) Master of Fine Art Thesis exhibition. Both artists work, brimming with Jewish content, was eye-opening.

Mannequin at War (2013) 72 x 48, acrylic on canvas by Leah Raab. Courtesy the artist.

Mannequin at War (2013) 72 x 48, acrylic on canvas by Leah Raab. Courtesy the artist.

At the top of the stairs and to the left was Leah Raab’s work, Mannequin at War. It is a shocking painting. The exploded and broken forms of an ordinary dress mannequin emerge out of a threatening cloud crowned with a haunting gas mask. Suddenly we realize that nowhere in the world is the gas mask such a familiar image other than in every Israeli household. And here the image is even more unnerving in that the air hose is swinging unattached, rendering the user defenseless. Only a short time ago the gas mask was an anachronistic symbol of World War I and now it represents a fact of life for contemporary Israelis. This sensibility is an underlying theme of Leah Raab’s current work.

Her thesis was to explore subjects that “are familiar and significant…[that] appear tranquil on the surface, yet threatened by a looming, ominous foreboding…” The majority of the 13 paintings on view are devoted to 4 subjects: Mannequins, Yad Vashem, Beit Shemesh Playground and Slides. Typical is her treatment of slides: for most, simply joyful fixtures at playgrounds, pools and waterparks around the world. Even Jerusalem proudly boasts its “Mifletzet” or “monster slide” in Kiryat Yovel; a maze-like beast that sports a three-tongued slide to exit its body. Nonetheless in Raab’s view the children tumbling down and out are ominously throw together, a tangle of bodies, hands and limbs, all too reminiscent of the aftermath of a terror bombing.

Raab is an experienced frum artist and teacher who has lived both in Israel and the United States, thereby maintaining a precarious balance between native and visitor in the Holy Land. The constant onslaught of missiles and terror attacks of recent years is unnerving to an American sensibility and is reflected especially in these works. A simple outing with her granddaughter to Yad Vashem produced a series of landscapes of that peaceful setting, nestled in the Jerusalem Forest just beyond Har Herzl. Overlooking the Garden of the Righteous Gentiles her image of rows of ghost-like trees, naked in the winter light, bespeaks a landscape that is in itself a memorial to unimaginable horror. A diagonal slash that reaches the top of the canvas portends a link to heaven from the blood-red soaked ground below.

Beit Shemesh Playground (2013) 49 x 49, oil on linen by Leah Raab. Courtesy the artist.

Beit Shemesh Playground (2013) 49 x 49, oil on linen by Leah Raab. Courtesy the artist.

Back in a totally domesticated environment the Beit Shemesh Playground shows figures of children playing and evokes an atmosphere of tense anticipation. We enter the painting through the figure in the foreground who is about to hoist herself up on a spring rider. She peers into the painting, catching sight of a friend leaning out from a jungle gym directly behind her. Both figures are caught in mid-action, anticipating but not completing their movement. That tension in the middle of the painting is heightened by a mysterious figure standing on the left. In contrast to the children, she stands stock-still, bound by the verticals of a tree and a light pole and wearing some kind of object on her chest. The sky above them is dark and threatening and the building façade behind them featureless and unhelpful. It is a playground far from missiles and violence and yet acutely aware of all such dangers.

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 “Visions At An Exhibition”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun, Gaza. In 2007. it was repeatedly used as a launch site for mortars. (Archive 2007)
Hamas and IDF Misfired Rockets and Shells Hit UNRWA School Killing 17
Latest Sections Stories
WC-072514-TCLA

“You Touro graduates are automatically soldiers in [Israel’s] struggle, and we count on you,” Rothstein told the graduates.

A-Night-Out-logo

The lemonana was something else. Never had we seen a green drink look so enticing.

Singer-072514

On his marriage, he wrote: “This is what I believe: something of the core, of the essence of this meaningful and life-affirming Judaism will not be absent from our home” (1882).

With the recent kidnapping by the Hamas and the barbaric murder of three children – Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frankel, we believe that the best answer to honor the memory of those murdered is to continue building those very communities – large and small – that our enemies are trying to destroy.

Written entirely through Frayda’s eyes, the reader is drawn by her unassuming personality.

Adopting an ancient exegetical approach that is based on midrashic readings of the text, thematic connections that span between various books of the Bible are revealed.

While Lipman comes from an ultra-Orthodox background and is an Orthodox rabbi, he offers a breath of fresh air when he suggests that “polarization caused by extremism and isolationism in the religious community may be the greatest internal threat to the future of the Jewish people”

The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten defines a mentch as “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character.”

Certainly today’s communication via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and the like, including the ubiquitous Whatsapp, has reduced the need to talk with people and communicate at length.

These two special women utilized their incredibly painful experience as an opportunity to assist others.

Maybe we don’t have to lose that growth and unity that we have achieved, especially with the situation in Eretz Yisrael right now.

Sleepily, I watched him kissing Mai’s chubby thighs.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

More Articles from Richard McBee
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.

With Without (2011) Performance, digital print by Ken Goldman
Courtesy The JCC in Manhattan

“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.

The ostensible outsider frequently has the privilege of seeing the exclusive inner sanctum with fresh and unbiased eyes. Artists’ initial encounters with the Talmud are equally blessed.

    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/visions-at-an-exhibition/2013/06/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: