For One Day Only: $1=$4, Thanks to Matching from BIG Donors
The illustrator stands in an oft-denigrated position, scorned by modernists and traditional purists alike. For both schools of thought the sublime of art cannot be rendered literal. On the other hand, illustrators are curiously accepted if not celebrated by those in a postmodern disposition. In the last twenty years or so a creative relationship to text, narrative or non-visual motifs has gained legitimacy if not primacy in the visual arts. Under the watchful guidance of director Jean Bloch Rosensaft and the curatorial skill of Laura Kruger, the Hebrew Union College Museum casts one of its current exhibitions into this ideational fray. “Isaac Bashevis Singer and his Artists”is in its curious way an exposition on the illustrational as a contemporary motif.
Irene Lieblich (1923 – 2008) was a survivor who took up painting at the age of 48 and, through an exhibition of her work, became friends with Singer after which she illustrated two of his books, A Tale of Three Wishes (1976) and The Power of Light: Eight Stories for Hanukkah (1980). All of her 13 illustrations shown exhibit a folk-art charm that reflects both Singer’s and her roots in Eastern European pictorial traditions. Three shtetl children witnessing an angel driving a chariot through the sky before a chorus of angels, can be summoned by her as easily as a young boy and girl emerging from a manhole in war-torn Warsaw. Her “Partisans in the Forest” is especially affecting. In a wintery scene a group of Jews huddle around a makeshift menorah while two play with a dreidel on a tree stump, surrounded by armed partisans anxiously guarding the evening ceremony. The simple composition slowly reveals first courageous piety, then childish playfulness and finally the deadly seriousness of their guards. Jewish faith at work.
The roster of artists who illustrated Singer’s books is extremely diverse. Some shared his Jewish Eastern European background and most are professional illustrators. Yet among these are well-known artists in their own right: Roman Vishniac (1897-1990), noted documentary photographer of Eastern European Jews in A Vanished World (1947) became friends with Singer and permitted the use of his works in Singer’s A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw (1969). Raphael Soyer (1899-1987) was a close friend known internationally as an American Social Realist painter from 1930 – 1950. His illustrations here of flying demons, nudes and fantastic figures are especially revealing exceptions to his normally dour painting style. Another international artist, Larry Rivers, illustrated a deluxe edition of Singer’s The Magician of Lublin with a signature drawing of a contemporary man donning tefillin – simple, modern and disarmingly convincing.
“Isaac Bashevis Singer and his Artists” similarly sweeps us up in the creativity and passion of the master Yiddish writer’s texts. Curator Laura Kruger is careful to always provide the textual references, either summaries or the short stories themselves, so that the images live and breathe within the very texts they emanate from. Once joined together they nurture and complement each other like an old married couple; one starts a sentence and the other finishes it. By doing so she insists that at least in this framework, text and image are inseparable and that like all good commentary next to its source, make both even more a joy to behold.
Richard McBee is a painter and writer on Jewish Art. Contact him at email@example.com
About the Author: Richard McBee is a painter and writer on Jewish Art. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
In the face of evil, we can do acts of kindness. We can do good deeds.
I realized that I am an integral part of that man who wished to win – I am also a part of a nation; I felt like I was standing there and shouting, “I won.”
As I powerfully belted out the song, Ani Maamin B’emunah Sheleima – which means “I believe in God with full faith” – a thought suddenly crossed my mind.
After diamonds were discovered in South Africa in the mid-1800s, Antwerp regained its prominence as the diamond capital of the world.
Search the Internet for innovative barbeque items and you might just be surprised at what you come across.
Orlando was once a place where people came only to visit and vacation. Now it is home to a burgeoning Torah community, a place Jewish families can be proud to call home.
You’re not seeking perfection. You’re seeking a life that an average person can manage and feel good about. Don’t feel pressure to change everything at once.
The smuggler’s life has been changed forever. He is faced with a major criminal charge. He will probably be sent to prison.
In Culture Shock, readers will also come to identify with a culture from the other end of Orthodox Jewry’s spectrum.
Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Executive Function Disorder (EFD) have trouble keeping themselves organized and on-task.
Our Sages have told us exactly how we should act – and how our children should act – in Pirkei Avos, Ethics of the Fathers.
A second supposed difficulty actually becomes a reason to corroborate that Amestris is Esther.
I work with the Bible in one hand and the tools of excavation in the other.
“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.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/singers-artists/2009/12/02/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: