Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Steve Wolkoff and "the power of repitition"

This week I got to meet Steve Wolkoff, a local artist whose current work includes self-described "word piles" which he says are a response to Anish Kapoor’s “1,000 Names.” I *love* that these works are made of paint, and therefore still "paintings."

Above you can see him with a piece about the Torah's 613 mitzvot (plural of mitzvah; in English, commandments) that will be in an upcoming group show in Los Angeles. He told me about the significance of the white and the blue in this, his first non-monotone pile. The 248 white mitzvot represent the "positive" commandments, the number of bones and main organs in the human body (per the Talmud); the 365 blue represent the "negative" commandments, one for each day in the solar year. So, yeah – he wrote/painted the word mitzvah 613 times and built a pile out of them.

You can check out more of his work on his website – I suggest you start with his piece titled, "the names of all my facebook friends," which I find presents an interesting commentary on our contemporary obsession with social networks. He writes:
I recreated the facebook experience in paint. I wrote the names of all my facebook friends in “facebook-blue” acrylic squiggles. Like facebook, some friends’ names are fully visible; others are partially obscured; most are lost within the mass of other friends – they are there, but you will never see them on your wall.

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