web analytics
September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » Sections » Arts »

Impressions Of Meah Shearim

Eric Lubiynov


Through March 13


The Chassidic Art Institute


375 Kingston Avenue, Brooklyn


(718) 774-9149


 


 


         “Back in Russia most of my works were dark and grey, reflecting the mood of those days and the way they taught us to paint,” says artist Eric Lubiynov. “Only when I came to Israel my vision changed and I started to paint bright.”

 

         Born in Kalinin in 1966, Lubiynov grew up drawing with crayons like many children, but unlike his peers, he never seemed to outgrow his passion for color. His works are perhaps best viewed as “Spiritual Impressionism.”

 

         The so-called Impressionist paintings of the late 19th century accessed a different, and perhaps deeper, reality than did previous naturalistic works. However well Rembrandt’s brush captured every blade of grass and every hair in a noble Dutchman’s moustache (and surely even Rembrandt “cheated” with his technique and ignored some hairs) he was only documenting the object or figure within the frame of a fraction of second.

 

 The next instant, as the candlelight flickered or the sun’s rays shifted positions, the entire vision would have changed dramatically and become an entirely different world.

 

         Essentially, then, the art that most people consider “realistic” discloses maximum information (every hair) in about next to nothing (a fragment of a second). In his serial paintings, Claude Monet captured a wider range of reality, by tracking his visions of haystacks and water lilies as they unfolded over time in different lights.

 

 



Image 1. – Eric Lubiynov. Oil on canvas. 18 x 24


 


        


         Viewed in a variety of works from different seasons, moods and times of day, the lilies and haystacks take on a new identity that is no longer skin deep. By peeling away the external forms, Monet showed that the haystacks and lilies maintained their identities even as external stimuli (like light) changed.

 

Monet would not have referred to the souls of his haystacks and lilies, but his work did seek the immutable and essential through studying the changing and superficial.

 

         In his work at the Chassidic Art Institute (CHAI) Lubiynov portrays Meah Shearim in a manner reminiscent of Monet’s Impressionism. Surely, Lubiynov is no Monet. After all, Monet is canonized for defining Impressionism in a wizardly fashion, anticipating modern developments way ahead of his times.

 

         Impressionism is “old hat” in today’s art museums, galleries and schools, where Monet impersonators and followers are a dime a dozen. Yet, Lubiynov’s works on Meah Shearim represent a certain relevant and natural marriage of the Israeli cityscape and Impressionist palette.

 

 


Image 2. – Eric Lubiynov. Oil on canvas. 18 x 24

 

 

People who have visited or lived in Meah Shearim (literally “100 Gates,” although perhaps a misreading of Genesis 26:12) know that it is no “Safed.” Where Safed is a town literally painted blue, whose streets are full of colors from pedestrians’ dress to artisan shops, Meah Shearim appears monochromatic – at first. Yet, Lubiynov manages to discern every color of the spectrum in the streets and buildings.
 

          “The colors in the paintings are very close to the actual street scenes,” Lubiynov says. “I like to paint when it’s sunny and bright, which reflects the mood of Jerusalem.”

 

         Lubiynov also notes that his work reflects “the ordinary daily life” of Meah Shearim, which he calls “the heart of the Jewish, religious people.” He has visited Jerusalem many times since he moved to Israel from Russia in 1996 and considers it his favorite city.

 

         Image 1” (all of the CHAIworks are untitled, but I have numbered them for convenience’s sake) shows theKotelthat could easily be a collage of several different artists. In the space above the Wall, Lubiynov has rendered the foliage and sky in a pastel-colored palette, with soft, gently blended colors, with billowing yellow, purple and green clouds.

 

        



Image 3. – Eric Lubiynov. Oil on canvas. 18 x 24


 


  


         But the paint on the Wall is boldly caked upon the canvas, applied heavily with a palette knife rather than a brush. The artist has gone back into those strokes and violently scratched out the silhouettes of the individual bricks.

 

         But between the soft, cloudy paint strokes and the violent bold ones, the other forms that emerge in the Jews that gather beside the Wall to pray, and in the purple structure and brown hill that flank the Wall on either side, Lubiynov adopts a more abstract touch – not quite attacking the canvas in a manner that obliterates naturalistic form, but also not depicting objects in a strictly literal manner.

 

         Lubiynov’s people don’t quite look like human representation so much as blob-like, amorphous and anonymous, which lends the otherwise peaceful, sunny scene a somewhat more dangerous atmosphere.

 

         If “Image 1” exhibits some abstract components, “Image 2” is altogether abstract. A street scene where the viewer looks out from under an overhanging roof (perhaps through a window), the painting’s surface is thickly covered with yellows, pinks, purples, greens, blues, peaches and golds.  If Jerusalem is the “City of Gold” in Jewish songs and folklore, it is the “City of Gold and Every Other Color of the Rainbow” of Lubiynov’s palette.

 

 


Image 4. – Eric Lubiynov. Oil on canvas. 18 x 24

 

 

         Indeed, the traffic jam of colors in “Image 2″ is so dizzying and overpowering, that viewers can easily miss the black figures walking down the street, all but engulfed by the street shadows.

 

         Image 3” also hides the figures in deep black shadows. In the shadows, the otherwise cheerful yellow, blue and pink forms look more sinister and threatening. Meah Shearim, in Lubiynov’s paintings, becomes a place like Monet’s haystacks and lilies. Although cities have little inherent character – they are simply made of mundane, dead materials -their atmosphere changes with the marks people make upon them and with the changing light. The same street in Meah Shearim looks inviting and beautiful in some visions, and forbidding in others.

 

         In a fourth image, Lubiynov paints Jerusalem in earth tones of red and brown, which simultaneously evoke fire and blood, both of which plagued the Old City far too often in Jewish history.

 

         In the press material, CHAI director, Zev Markowitz, writes: “Lubiynov has the ability to see beyond the ordinary at what is timeless when gazing at a simple motif from everyday life. At the exhibit in our gallery we display oil paintings, which reflect Jewish life in Israel. These paintings are lyrical; the color is modest and in no way detracts from the main characteristic of his work.”

 

         Markowitz is quite right to call attention to Lubiynov’s colors, but they are anything but modest.

 

         Menachem Wecker is a painter, writer and editor based in Washington, D.C. He welcomes comments at mwecker@gmail.com. His painting, “The Windows of Heaven” will be on exhibit at the JCC of Greater Baltimore as part of an exhibit opening March 25.

About the Author: Menachem Wecker, who blogs on faith and art for the Houston Chronicle at http://blogs.chron.com/iconia, welcomes comments at mwecker@gmail.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 “Impressions Of Meah Shearim”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The Iron Dome was called on for the first time in 2013 to intercept a missile fired by terrorists in Sinai at Eilat.
Iron Dome: Israel Ends the Long Battlefield Reign of the Missile
Latest Sections Stories
Ganz-091214-Fifty

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

Goldberg-091214

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

Women's under-trousers, Uzbekistan, early 20th century

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

Schonfeld-logo1

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

While multitasking is not ideal, it is often necessary and unavoidable.

Maybe now that your kids are back in school, you should start cleaning for Pesach.

The interpreter was expected to be a talmid chacham himself and be able to also offer explanations and clarifications to the students.

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

“On Sunday I was at the Kotel with the battalion and we said a prayer of thanks. In Gaza there were so many moments of death that I had to thank God that I’m alive. Only then did I realize how frightening it had been there.”

Neglect, indifference or criticism can break a person’s neshama.

It’s fair to say that we all know or have someone in our family who is divorced.

The assumption of a shared kinship is based on being part of the human race. Life is so much easier to figure out when everyone thinks the same way.

Various other learning opportunities will be offered to the community throughout the year.

The new group will also deliver kosher food to Jewish residents in non-kosher facilities, as well as to kosher facilities where the food is not up to par.

More Articles from Menachem Wecker
Menachem Wecker

The exhibit, according to a statement from guest curator Michele Waalkes which is posted on the museum website, “examines how faith can inform and inspire artists in their work, whether their work is symbolic, pictorial, or textual in nature. It further explores how present-day artwork can lead audiences to ponder God, religious themes, venerated traditions, or spiritual insights.”

Weck-051812

It all started at an art and education conference at the Yeshiva University Museum. When one of the speakers misidentified a Goya painting at the Frick Collection, both the gentleman sitting next to me and I turned to each other and corrected the error simultaneously.

One of my favorite places when I was growing up in Boston was the used bookstore on Beacon and St. Mary’s streets. Boston Book Annex could play a used bookshop on television; it was dimly lit and cavernous, crawling with cats, and packed with a dizzying array of books, many of which sold three for a dollar. But used bookstores of this sort, however picturesque and inviting, are a relatively modern phenomena. In the Middle Ages, for example, I would never have been able to afford even a single used book unless I had been born into an aristocratic family. (Full disclosure, I was not.)

Jewish medals, several with Hebrew inscriptions and provocative imagery, were among the gems at The European Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, Netherlands, as I wrote in these pages two weeks ago. Another mini-trend at the fair, which will interest Jewish art aficionados, was an abundance of works by Marc Chagall.

It’s virtually impossible to ignore the financial aspects of TEFAF Maastricht, the annual arts and antiques fair in the historic city about two hours south of Amsterdam. More than 250 dealers from nearly 20 countries sell their wares—which span from Greek and Roman antiquities to contemporary sculptures—in the halls of the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre, whose corridors are adorned by nearly 65,000 tulips.

Max Ferguson’s 1993 painting Katz’s may be the second most iconic representation of the kosher-style delicatessen after the 1989 Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan film, When Harry Met Sally. Ferguson’s photorealistic painting depicts the deli from an interesting perspective, which is simultaneously inviting and hostile—in short, the dichotomy of deli culture.

The whole idea of an artful pushka (tzeddakah or charity box) is almost a tease, if not an outright mockery. Isn’t there something pretty backward about investing time and money in an ornate container to hold alms for the poor?

Located about nine miles north of Madrid, the Palacio Real de El Pardo (Pardo Palace) dates back to the early 15th century. Devastated by a March 13, 1604 fire that claimed many works from its priceless art collection, the Pardo Palace and its vast gardens were used as a hunting ground by the Spanish monarchs.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/impressions-of-meah-shearim/2007/02/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: