Thursday, June 14, 2012

New ark doors at Adath Jeshrun
feature "Burning Bush: Flame On"

As you can see in the image above, the design of the new ark doors at Congregation Adath Jeshrun in Louisville, Kentucky, is based on my recently completed papercut, "Burning Bush: Flame On."

The doors were made by Todd Deetsch of Interior FX, Inc.; he adapted the design into a three-color application in cooler colors, having been directed by the congregation to avoid warmer colors.

Inspired by the first chapter of the book of Shemot (aka Exodus) in the Torah, in the papercut I tried to convey the sense of wonder and awe that Moses felt upon encountering the Burning Bush in the desert and hearing God's voice speak to him from its midst. The background is made up of cut-up comics (including quite a few variations on the Human Torch, from the Fantastic Four), but also a bit of a Chumash that was destined for the genizah. And of course, just to the right above center the eponymous words, "Flame on!"

Todd tells me that the gold colored lead is Dutch metal, and that he used both standard gilding and a "broken gilding" technique to create the different values of gold. The blue-colored leaf is actually real silver leaf that is hand-dipped into an acrylic resin, and the silver-colored leaf is actually aluminum, also done in a "broken gilding" technique. You can see the colors nicely in this detail of one of the doors:

The papercut will be on display (and available for purchase) at my upcoming show this fall in Northern California; I'll have details here on my blog later this summer.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Completed commission:
"Psalm 150"

Here's my latest completed commission: "Psalm 150." This papercut was commissioned as a gift for a local musician who is an accomplished pianist, conductor, orchestrator, composer and vocalist. It's based on the words of Psalm 150, written by King David, and urges the praise of God through music:
Praise God in His sanctuary;
praise Him in His mighty firmament!
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
praise Him for His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with blasts of the horn;
praise Him with harp and lyre!
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
praise Him with clashing cymbals!
Let all that breathes praise God. Halleluyah.
The papercut is built on the word which appears at the beginning of many of the poem’s lines: 
“הללוהו – Halleluhu – Praise Him.” Within those letters are the psalmist’s words for each of the instruments. Surrounding the letters are swirling patterns of line and shape that evoke those instruments: the curved neck of a lute, the narrow waist of a drum, the plucked strings of a lyre, and more.

The background of this papercut features the tones and textures of musical instruments, in blues and browns and gold and silver, alongside snippets of cut-up comic books and a medieval illustration of King David himself, playing his harp. There are numerous surprises to be found in these backgrounds, including one space left intentionally blank as a nod to the pauses between notes which, as one famous musician said, is where artistry lies.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mazal tov!

Here's the happy couple signing their ketubah — mazal tov to Michael and Michael!

"Ahavat Olam" in online auction to support Temple Ahavat Shalom

I've donated a signed, framed giclée print of my "Ahavat Olam" papercut to support the 2012 Temple Ahavat Shalom Gala auction. It's a 16x20 giclée print, and you can bid for it online right now; just follow this link.

"Ahavat Olam" is from my Paper Tefillah series, which features 16 papercuts that represent the major prayers of contemporary Jewish worship. It's a prayer about God's gift of Torah to the Jewish people, and I've represented it as the Etz Chaim (Tree of Life). The leaves and branches are Hebrew letters and the background is made up entirely of cut-up Superman comics and pieces from prayerbooks and a chumash that had been destined for ritual burial in the genizah.

More details -- and ONLINE BIDDING -- here. Bidding will continue at the gala at Temple Ahavat Shalom on Sunday, June 24 -- gala details here.