This year, one of my artistic goals was to engage with Hebrew, the language of my religion. This has been a personal quest, which somehow makes me feel close to my father, who died last year and was buried on the Mount of Olives. One of the things we shared was a love and respect for Jewish tradition, but in different ways. I interpret our tradition freely, and perhaps that’s why I like to thread a loose line inside Hebrew letters.
I painted all 22 letters on separate wooden panels, each 10×10 inches, and I plan on hanging them all on the wall in a grid.
When I juxtapose Hebrew with English letters, I’m thinking about the connections between the Spiritual world and the Everyday world. When I juxtapose Hebrew with Arabic, I’m thinking about bridging the gap between Jews and Arabs. And when I place all three languages together, I’m thinking in general terms about Relationship, praying that we can all get along.
For my Hebrew letters, I chose the font that most prayer books use, because it’s the font that I’m most familiar with since Hebrew school. I use a very ornate line inside the Arabic letters, I guess because Arabic is exotic to me, and because of the Arabic tradition of embellishing letters. And for English, I use a more standard style inspired by the font of the daily newspaper, but I decorate it with metallic paint in the tradition of illuminated manuscripts. By using different styles, I feel like I’m collaborating with another artist, but I’m simply communicating with different parts of myself.
My co-exhibitors, Catherine Carter and Jim Banks, also have forged a visual language out of line. Our exhibit, Lines of Communication, will be at Fountain Street’s new location in South Boston. Please visit. There will be at least three opportunities to meet the artists: an artist reception on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 5-7 p.m., an artist talk and poetry reading on Sunday, Sept. 24, from 3-5 p.m., and a First Friday reception on Friday, Oct. 6, from 6-8 p.m. Find more information at FSFAboston.com.
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