I see to write: my artwork is my taking my Torah knowledge (and whatever else I have inside of me) and sketching and refining it in chulin–on a surface, according to the principles of visual organization and expression. That is: to take all my thought and to try to express it in the most simple structures that are possible. One needn’t know any Kaballah or even Mishnah or Talmud, or even Chumash or even know how to read Aramaic or Lashon haKodesh or even English; he can just look and experience, and receive that which I have to impart, even the highest concepts. All this to make Torah accessible to anyone whose soul desires to drink and be nourished.
More than this; I seek to include my mistakes and lacks in understanding in the the picture themselves, to share my process of thinking through, sorting out thoughts, struggles to separate correct from false, holy from profane, etc. to admit to myself and to others: “where I am at”–for example: even though I may understand a piece of Torah nicely, still, perhaps,, it is not yet absorbed in all my being; and this reality I want to represent in the pictures—both what I know in my mind and what I still am in myself, which is not yet coincident with that knowledge. This: in order to make true pictures in the fullest sense to which I am able, for my own good and for the good of others.
It should be, it seems to me, that these pictures should be accessible to all, for I am lowering myself, very very much, to put Torah into geometric shapes and colors, etc. and furthermore to admit and even to proclaim out loud, so to speak, all my failings ( even though there is a limit to this—out of respect to the Torah which is in me and in the pictures—understand this.) Yet I see that even these pictures are difficult for most people to “understand”, and I’ve wondered a lot about this.
It seems, that even this, the fact that I seek to lower the Torah in me to express it is such simple ways, and that I seek so much honesty In my representation and expression—this itself is a high medrega which most people can’t relate to, and therefore the picture cannot enter into their hearts. And, it seems, the more that I try to lower myself and see and reveal more truth and honesty, paradoxically, the more remote the pictures become from people’s understanding. I see this happening.
And me, I cannot remain on the same medrega, or go lower, Heaven forbid—only to go higher. And I become very separate from the world, even after I’ve come out of pure Torah, and come into pictures, still, etc., as above.
So for some years now I’ve seen the only recourse, in light of this serious problem, is to uplift the generation, even if it is for my own benefit—so that I can continue to live—for if I am not able to go to a higher medrega there is no purpose in living at all.
I haven’t seen so much success in this, but perhaps it is only not visible—and testimony to this (that the generation has in fact been raised up, even though it is not visible) is the fact that I am still alive—for if I were unable to continue to ascend, I would pass away, as said above. Enough of this, for now.
Another point: my pictures confront a viewer—and the viewer may say, my daughter can do that, etc. or similar; they don’t see the artistry, etc. but if they CONTINUE to look, to see if, indeed, the picture recoils at their rebuke and hasn’t what to answer to their reproof, they will see that, in fact, the picture does answer them back and shows its artistry and wisdom that was hidden behind its apparent simpleness, and if they continue to question they will continue to see answers to their questions, until in the end my picture will triumph and show them its wisdom and that, in truth, the picture was a mirror to them—showing them their superficiality. See the story of Rebbeinu Nachman of the son who returned with his chandelier. (in English, “The Chandelier” in Rabbi Nachman Stories, additional stories 14, page 441)
בסתר עליון 3
Oil on canvas
ציור שמן על קנבס
70 cm. x 80 cm.