Monday, February 25, 2013

"In the Garden"

“In the Garden” was commissioned by a patron in New Zealand — it's a diptych featuring two trees from the Garden of Eden: the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life.

The trees are similar in structure, underscoring the ambiguity of whether these trees were two different trees or, in fact, the same tree — as has been posited by scholars over the years.

On the left, the Tree of Knowledge is backed with cut up texts related to the tree and the knowledge that came from it; it also features small fruits to tempt Eve and Adam. There are glimpses of the Bible, of encyclopedia entries and textbooks — with references to apples, belief, and the traditions that have sprung from this story.

On the right, the Tree of Life is alive with natural greens and browns from cut-up comic books and other textures, featuring three red fruits. The tree is a study of life, for while it is composed of wood and leaves, those are representations on paper which only symbolize those natural elements; and yet, that paper is made from wood, which of course is a more literal backing of the tree’s forms.

Comics used include:
  • Animal Man #3 (January 2012)
  • Azrael #3 (July 2009)
  • Batman #493 (May 1993)
  • Batman: Lovers and Madmen (2008)
  • Daredevil: The Man Without Fear, v2 #56 (March 2004)
  • Flash Annual #2 (1988)
  • Green Lantern Corps #47 (June 2010)
  • JLA: Liberty and Justice (November 2003)
  • The Lone Ranger #25 (January 2011)
  • The Power Company #4 (July 2002)
  • Powerless (2005)
  • Shazam! Power of Hope (November 2000)
  • Teen Titans #4 (December 2003)
  • Trinity #23 (November 2008)
  • Vermillion #4 (January 1997)
  • The Last of the Greats #5 (February 2012)
Other texts used include:
  • Cavins, Dr. Lorimer V., ed. The Wonderland of Knowledge, Volume 1. Publishers Productions, Inc., 1938.
  • Cohen, Mortimer J. Pathways Through the Bible. JPS, 1946.
  • Cohen, The Reverend Dr. A., ed. The Soncino Chumash. Soncino Press, 1947.
  • Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1951.
  • Farb, Peter. LIFE Nature Library: Geology. TIME-LIFE Books, 1963.
  • Holst, Bernhart P., ed. World-Scope Encyclopedia, Volume 1. Readers League of America, 1945.
  • Raisin, Dr. Jacob S., Ph.D. The Haskalah Movement in Russia. JPS, 1913.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Inscribe - a mezuzah artwork by Kingsley

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to visit the Peninsula Jewish Community Center in Foster City (Northern California) to lead a gallery tour of my current show, "You did WHAT to my comics?!?" – and I was pleased to discover, just inside the entrance, this exciting piece of Judaica: a mezuzah by a woodworker who goes by the name Kingsley.

The mezuzah is called "Inscribe"and stands over 5 feet tall, and is made of wood and paper. It displays the Hebrew letter shin prominently at the top, traditionally inscribed on the exterior of a mezuzah (it's the first letter of the text on the scroll inside, and also the first letter of one of our names for God). There are 613 small circular openings in the front of the piece into which are inserted small scrolls with "hopes, prayers, and dreams"; occasionally the PJCC asks special guests to add a scroll to the piece.

On the side is the mezuzah scroll itself (the klaf), wedged into an opening carved into the wood made specifically to fit it.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

"MaAriv Aravim" print in online auction raising money for Brandeis Hillel Day School

A giclĂ©e print of "MaAriv Aravim," one of the sixteen papercuts in my "Paper Tefillah" series, is now available in an online auction supporting the Brandeis Hillel Day School in San Rafael, California. Proceeds from the auction will directly benefit academic programming and faculty support at the school.

To place a bid, visit Bidding for Good.

"MaAriv Aravim" is the nighttime prayer that praises God for bringing on the evening, for ordering the stars and the planets, for the cycle of the seasons and the immutable processes of the universe. We praise God for keeping the heavenly bodies spinning in their orbits, and the papercut is designed to reflect these orbits. At the center is a hamsa, an ancient symbol of heavenly protection, with a mystical eye in the center backed with words from the prayer itself.

The hamsa can be seen as a representation of the hand of God, rolling light into darkness and darkness into light. The piece is composed of various space-related and dark-toned comics, to convey a sense of the evening. One of the main comic book heroes used in the background is Cloak, who harnesses the power of darkness to fight evil alongside his partner Dagger. The piece also features some comic captions which are recontextualized to explore God’s role and presence in the universe.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Photos from the PJCC gallery tour

My thanks and appreciation go out to everyone who joined me for the gallery tour yesterday at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center.

I had a wonderful time talking with you about art and Judaism, and I'm especially pleased I got to meet those of you who have been purchasing work from the show. I signed some prints and waved my hands around, talked with old friends and made some new ones.

There are still works available for purchase; check out the catalog here to see everything in the show, alongside descriptions of each piece and listings of the comics I cut up to make them – and contact me if you're interested in acquiring a piece.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Aishet Chayil

This is a papercut called "Aishet Chayil" ("Woman of Valor") I made for friend in memory of his wife; it's a very personal interpretation of the words from the book of Proverbs:
A woman of valor, who can find? Her value is far beyond rubies and pearls.
Her husband’s heart relies on her and he shall lack no fortune.
She does him good and not harm, all the days of her life.
Strength and dignity are her clothing...
This papercut is a portrait based loosely on a photograph of Julie wearing her pink jersey as the Honorary Bat Girl for the Los Angeles Dodgers. It is inspired structurally by Boticelli’s “Birth of Venus” and Modigliani’s portraiture.

The papercut is backed with cut-up comics featuring women of valor: predominantly Wonder Woman, whose star-spangled blue skirt and golden accessories are prominent, but also Sue Storm, Black Canary, Dazzler, Raven, Supergirl, and Spider-Girl.

The words of Aishet Chayil in Hebrew and in various English translations are central to the piece, while a caption in the gold ring reads, “They called me Wonder Woman.”

In addition to the comics used in this papercut, it also contains pieces of Mortimer J. Cohen’s Pathways Through the Bible (JPS, 1966), the CCAR Shabbat Manual (KTAV, 1972), Dr. Joseph Hertz’s Authorised Daily Prayer Book (Bloch Publishing, 1954), the 2012 Los Angeles Dodgers Calendar, The All-Star Story of the Dodgers (Stadium Comics, 1979), and a ticket from the May 10, 2009 Dodgers game.

Monday, February 4, 2013

"Fantastic Exodus" showing in Northern California

"Fantastic Exodus" is one of the new works in my one-man show at the Peninsula JCC in Foster City, California. I'll be leading a gallery tour and making a brief presentation this Sunday, February 10; visit the PJCC website for details on the show or to reserve your spot.

In this papercut, the members of the Fantastic Four (from left to right: Reed, Ben, Johnny, and Sue) represent the four elements (water, earth, fire and air) and four of the elements of Israel’s journey from slavery to freedom (crossing the Sea of Reeds, gathering at Sinai, and being protected by the pillar of fire by night and pillar of cloud by day). As usual, the work is backed with cut-up comics representing these characters and themes:
  • Fantastic Four #15 (Jun 1963), 17 (Aug 1963), 21 (Dec 1963), 23 (Feb 1964), 248 (Nov 1982), 265 (Apr 1984), Annual #18 (1984), 282 (Sep 1985), 286 (Jan 1986), 290 (May 1986), 296 (Nov 1986), 297 (Dec 1986), 305 (Aug 1987), 314 (May 1988), 544 (May 2009), 587 (Mar 2011)
  • Fantastic Four: The Lost Adventure #1 – Apr 2008
  • Fantastic Four: Flesh and Stone – 2000
  • Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four #34 – May 2008
  • The Last Fantastic Four Story #1 – Oct 2007
  • Fantastic Four 2099 #6 – Jun 1996
  • Fantastic Five: The Final Doom #1-5 – 2007
  • The Thing vol. 1 #22 – Apr 1985
  • The Thing vol. 2 #2 – Feb 2006, 7 – Jul 2006
  • Hulk and Thing: Hard Knocks #1 – Nov 2004
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four #3 – Mar 2004, 5 – May 2004, 10 – Oct 2004, 42 – Jul 2007