Thursday, January 10, 2008
Talmudic Abstractions(Marc Salz)
Over the past few years, my shaped paintings on wood have taken on the format of the Talmud with its main central text accompanied by various side arguments made by scholars and rabbis. These paintings are not concerned with the Talmud's meaning but they do seek to relate to the way it presents debates on single aspects of Jewish law. They are abstract paintings where the written words have been transformed into contradictory colors and images. The central text has been replaced by a central wood panel with different smaller side panels. Some of those panels act in harmony with the central one while others are dissonant in their colors and shapes. I am interested in the visual interactions of these parts to the center. Many of my paintings contain images of the basic elements such as earth,water,fire, stars and embryonic forms. During the evolution of abstract painting in the twentieth century, the early abstract painters such as Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich used either Christian (the cross,the icon) or Eastern (the circle, the mandala) spiritual symbols as starting points for their visual investigations. I believe that today, with all the world's contradictory views and opinions, the Talmud's presentation of differing points of view on a subject is not just an abstract symbol but a real example for contemporary life. The Talmud's format does not offer passage into a single ideal but instead presents us with the joys of argumentation and how we can still be mindful of the central way where there is hope for agreement.