web analytics
April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



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.

Share Button
The 12 Spies - Vineyard (2013) 56 x 60, oil on linen by Shany Saar. Courtesy the artist.

The 12 Spies – Vineyard (2013) 56 x 60, oil on linen by Shany Saar. Courtesy the artist.

Dangers lurking are not far from Shany Saar’s works either. The principle difference is that she locates her subjects within the Biblical narratives. While Saar, a native Israeli, is relatively new to Torah narratives in her artwork, the results of this last year’s painting is remarkable. In the 19 paintings shown here she explores Balaam, Miriam’s Well, Jonah, Burning Bush and the 12 Spies. The Twelve Spies are seen in two completely different large paintings. One is a fantastic urban view, the spies dotted about the streets and households of a whimsical hillside village. Each house is a different color and shape and we glimpse the spies on the streets and in the houses, indistinguishable from the natives. A curious donkey seems to accompany them. The other version of the 12 Spies is set in a vineyard with three of them underneath the grapevines wondering as to the import of this wonderful fruit. Locating the spies in the midst of a vineyard, in some way becoming one with the vertical trunks that support the grape leaves and clusters of grapes, is a stroke of pictorial genius thereby visually linking the spies with the thing that led to their own destruction. Their lack of faith led to a massive collapse of nerve on the part of the Children of Israel, precipitating a kind of drunkenness of will and collective disaster.

Yad Vashem (2013) 80 x 60, Oil on linen by Leah Raab. Courtesy the artist.

Yad Vashem (2013) 80 x 60, Oil on linen by Leah Raab. Courtesy the artist.

Six examples of Balaam and the Donkey explore this troubling narrative, concentrating on its aftermath. After the donkey saw the Angel of Hashem blocking the way three times and Balaam did not, the Angel castigates Balaam for his obstinate behavior. Saar imagines what happened next as Balaam continues his journey still struggling with the vindicated donkey. In all the images the donkey is refusing to be led by an increasingly desperate Balaam. The landscape takes on an importance of its own, in a way taking the place of the absent angel. Stubborn in its newfound power, the donkey understands that it can perceive God’s will as opposed to the pitiful Balaam, blind to Divine displeasure. Even after the prophet Balaam is thwarted by a lowly animal, he cannot and does not realize it is fruitless to attempt to curse the Jews.

Saar’s two paintings of Jonah present diverse takes on the reluctant prophet. In one small image we first see an enormous dark sea and then only notice a tiny figure sitting on the shore. He considers the enormity of his flight from prophecy or perhaps the depth of God’s wisdom in forcefully bringing him to Nineveh’s shore. Her other Jonah viscerally contemplates the terror of being swallowed. The storm tossed sea surrounds the open jaws of the great fish with Jonah in its mouth, in the exact center of the painting. The surrounding night is calm, a full moon shines in the dark sky over a tilted horizon and suddenly we understand what it feels like to be alone, hopeless and swallowed by God’s will.

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

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

It is perhaps the hazards prophecy that Saar is exploring in these paintings, for her depictions of Miriam all place her at her well surrounded by a vast landscape. While a lone donkey seems to be her companion, not one person accompanies her. Miriam here, drawing water out of the miracle well that follows her through the wilderness, is seen as the ultimate provider of sustenance, the source of life-giving water, tragically doomed to be alone.

Share Button

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.

No Responses to “Visions At An Exhibition”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
BDS targets Zabar's; Carole Zabar promotes BDS proponents.
All in the Family: BDS Protests Zabars; Carole Zabar Promotes BDS
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Richard McBee
Crossbow and Black Bird (detail) Cervera Bible, (1300), Fol. 445.                                                           Courtesy Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, Lisbon.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Jo-El/Jore-El (2013) 48” x 60” acrylic on canvas, by Joel Silverstein
Courtesy the artist

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.

It is a rare season indeed when two major auction houses show not only resplendent offerings of Judaica, but also multiple examples of highly unusual and rare Jewish-themed fine art. That is indeed the case now both at Sotheby’s December 19th auction and the Bonhams recent December 10th auction.

As I described Gaon in a review in June 2001 (“In Search of Ancestors, Sculpture by Simon Gaon” at Yeshiva University Museum), his Bukharian Jewish roots are deeply embedded on both sides of his family, echoed in his early yeshiva education.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    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: