“PAINT BY NUMBERS” Exhibition

PLEASE JOIN ME at the OPENING RECEPTION 
Thursday, September 8 2016,  6:00 – 8:00 PM

PAINT BY NUMBERS
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Museum
One West Fourth St, New York NY
September 8, 2016- June 30, 2017

Numbers are integral to Jewish rituals, belief, significant historical dates, and daily life. Numbers and numerology have been at the core of Biblical understanding since the Bible was codified and possibly before. Inescapable, numbers are the global language of humanity. More than fifty contemporary artists illuminate the meaning of numbers and their symbolism through a broad range of artistic media.

JM and Faith _01.20.16

“Two Generations x Seven Emotions”

Dimensions: 13.25H x 17.5W inches
Framed: 20H x 24W inches
Year Completed: 2016
Medium: Hot Press Bright Fine Art Paper with Archival Pigmented Inks

I photographed my friends, Joanmarie and Faith, as they were teaching themselves to wrap their arms with the tefillin seven times. It is the mother’s hand that is the foundation for her daughter as they learn to follow the commandment to bind oneself to a higher power and channel the divine energies of the seven emotions.

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.  Teach these words to your children. Recite them at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise up. Bind them on your arm and on your head and inscribe them on the door-posts of your house.

Ukraine_August.08_Medzhybizh

“Eternal Flame of the Shin”
Medzhybizh, Ukraine c.1800

Dimensions: 12H x 18W inches
Framed 18H x 24W inches
Year Completed: 2008
Medium: Hot Press Bright Fine Art Paper with Archival Pigmented Inks

“Eternal Flame of the Shin,” was photographed in the cemetery near the ohel protecting the Baal Shem Tov’s tomb. Outstretched hands, joined in a gesture of blessing, were symbolically carved onto the headstones of Kohanim, descendants of the Biblical priests.

In Medzhybizh, the birth place of Hassidism and the Baal Shem Tov, I found the ritualistic gesture in the whitewashed hands inviting me to dig deeper into its meaning.

The four fingers on each hand are customarily split into two sets of two fingers each,  forming the letter Shin (שׁ), the 21st letter in the Hebrew alphabet that also designates Shaddai, the Almighty Creator.

The four stones poignantly placed on top of the gravestone serve to commemorate the life and enduring presence of the deceased. This image depicts my own mitzvot, uniting past and present, and the love and respect I have for learning from my ancestors.

Hours:
Monday-Thursday, 9am-5pm,  Friday, 9am-3pm 

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2015 FALL to WINTER – 3 Exhibitions

PLEASE JOIN ME at the
OPENING RECEPTION: Wednesday, Oct 21, 2015,  5:30 – 7:30 PM
EVIL: A MATTER OF INTENT
Hebrew Union College –JIR Museum
One West Fourth St, New York NY
September 1, 2015- June 30, 2016

My Femme Fatale Portfolio has its roots in the shadows and violence depicted on pulp fiction book covers and film noir movie posters. At the core of these stories is an edgy morality tale. ‘Bad girl’ characters live in a place and time where good is not always rewarded or evil inevitably punished. Central to this story is the predatory femme fatale, sometimes portrayed as a character that is not all bad.

Within the mysterious mise-en-scène, gender performance artist, Fred Koenig, appropriates the dark haired, noir-heroine dripping in furs and jewels as a character of multiple and hidden  identities. For SIN STREET (2013), the inner surface and the outer show are as interchangeable as the intimately linked masculine and feminine roles.  Sex is the femme fatale’s  weapon. She uses her attractiveness to manipulate the male protagonist. Better not to be too pretty, too aggressive or too sexual or you might be killed as the film noir heroine usually dies. The warning is well learned by generations of young girls.  The film noir moral lesson is that we are all connected; that the lure of transgression makes us closer than we think.

The exhibition EVIL: A  MATTER OF INTENT addresses the faces of inhumanity and explores the struggle between the acts of evil, (yetzer hara) and the acts of good (yetzer hatov).

“The artists in this exhibition as do many of us, have a vision of how to proceed. Less rhetoric. More action. It is up to each and every one of us to wage war on evil.” Laura Kruger, Curator

Hours:
Monday-Thursday, 9am-5pm,  Friday, 9am-3pm,  Select Saturdays, 10am-2pm (call for Saturday openings)
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PLEASE JOIN ME at the Opening Reception: Thursday, October 29th, 2015,  7-9 PM

ART IN THE PUBLIC EYE: What’s All the Fuss? This exhibition examines the work of artists who investigate the controversial subjects that spark public discussions today.

Pierro Gallery of South Orange
5 Mead Street, South Orange, NJ
October 29 – November 25th 2015
ART IN THE PUBLIC EYE – Panel Discussion 
Thursday Oct 22 2015, 7pm, Montclair Art Museum –  to discuss the issues and concerns that arise in the creation of public art installations and how they engage communities in dialogue.

From the earliest days of my career in art and photography I have photographed strong and defiant people who bravely break taboos and re-define their cultural and sexual representation. Many of my images embrace the fluidity of gender identity and explore the possibility that we each hold a myriad of alternative selves within us.

SACRED CORSET (1997)
In the eighteen years that I have been photographing the French performance artist, Fred Koenig, we have collaborated on producing images that explore a gender-fluid queer identity. My HE/SHE Portfolio reveals the spectrum of Fred’s transformations into self-affirming portraits of his myriad personas and alternative selves.

For SACRED CORSET, Koenig dares the viewer to cross over boundaries of imagination and desires. Here is a fearless man who is empowered and transformed by the ambiguity and fluidity of his sexuality.

Fred_Dean_Sept_Paris_2013

AUTHENTIC GENDER QUEER (2013)

Dean, the photojournalist and visual artist depicted in the portrait, AUTHENTIC GENDER QUEER,  self-identifies with the pronoun “they,” and says: “There is nothing more courageous than being yourself in a world that tries to render you invisible in mundane and violent ways.” 

 
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VISAURAL 
NAVE Gallery Annex
53 Chester St., Somerville, MA 02144
October 8th – 31st 2015

Essex County State Penitentiary, North Caldwell, New Jersey

WHO DO YOU BELIEVE IN
Pigment print on aluminum with hand-filed edges, 12 x 18 inches

I photographed the graffiti drawing, WHO DO YOU BELIEVE IN, on a cell wall of the Women’s Wing at the abandoned Essex County State Penitentiary, in North Caldwell, NJ. Both the text and the inmate’s haunting, hand-drawn portrait poignantly illustrate one of the fundamental questions we ask about life.

For the exhibition, VISAURAL, I paired it with “Hallelujah,” written by Leonard Cohen and performed here by K.D. Lang, because the prayer-like music affirms a faith in life and love amidst doubts. Cohen has said the iconic song represents “absolute surrender in a situation you cannot fix or dominate.”

Alone, within the steel bars of her cage-like cell, I can imagine the figure in the drawing listening to the repeated one-word chorus coming through the open ceiling above her.  According to the song, even those of us for whom “it all went wrong” can experience transcendence. As Cohen writes: we “stand before the Lord of Song/ with nothing on [our] lips but a cold and broken Hallelujah.”

http://www.trixrosen.com/divine-light/Hallelujah.html

 

The Sexuality Spectrum

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I am very proud to have two of my fine art photography projects included in the groundbreaking exhibition The Sexuality Spectrum at the Hebrew Union College –  JIR Museum in New York City.

Opening Reception:
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm ∙ Program at 6:30 pm
RSVP & Photo ID Required: hucjirmuseum@huc.edu or 212-824-2298

FAUST’S STUDY                                 
1997, Edition 3/9
Archival Pigment Print
13.3 inches x 16 inches
Framed  24.5  x 26.5 inches

Enter into Faust’s Study, a trompe l’oeil painted room, and be confronted by a fearless man who is empowered and transformed by the duality of his sexuality. His starkly lit, painted face and figure emerging from the shadows are a tantalizing contrast to the painted Adam and Eve on the rear wall. Faust’s Study directs the viewer’s attention to the relationship between the interior details and the subject, suggesting a narrative in which the gender performance artist, Frédéric Koenig, who can so naturally appear both handsome and beautiful, dares the viewer to cross over boundaries of imagination and desire. Faust’s Study, like much of my gender imagery, blurs the traditional definitions of maleness and femaleness.

WRESTLING WITH LEVITICUS #2,
2012, 36 inches x 26 inches,
Archival Pigment Print spot mounted on black plexiglass

ABOMINATION: WRESTLING WITH LEVITICUS 18:22 is my first artistic collaboration with Susan Kaplow.  Our installation explores the damage done by this biblical passage (“Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination”) and its homophobic legacy.  The first to wrestle with the meaning of this verse were the early Rabbis and so the chosen text here is the Talmud page where their commentary is recorded.

Because this abhorrence of her lesbian sexuality made Susan feel “dead,” she had the Talmud text printed on fabric like that used in the traditional Jewish burial ritual and then hand-sewed it into shrouds (tachrichim).  Susan asked me if I would photograph her in these shrouds and, together, we began the process of exploring the physical and emotional dynamics of being enclosed in the garments.  We came to realize that the images represented our own commentary on the text, reflecting the impact on those who suffer this curse.  Through the constitutive role of photography, we transformed and transcended the pain, ultimately retiring the shrouds to a geniza, in which sacred texts and objects which have outlived their ritual use are placed.

The Sexuality Spectrum is a groundbreaking exploration of diverse sexual orientations through the creativity of fifty international contemporary artists. The exhibition explores a broad range of subjects, including the evolving social and religious attitudes toward sexuality; issues of alienation, marginalization, and inclusion; the impact on the family, child-rearing, and life stages; violence and persecution; AIDS/HIV; and the influence of the LGBTQI community on the Jewish and larger world. This exhibition exemplifies the spirit of the College-Institute’s and the Reform Movement’s commitment to free and open inquiry, inclusivity and outreach, and advocacy on behalf of human rights and the eradication of sexual discrimination.

September 6, 2012 – June 28, 2013
Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion Museum
One West Fourth Street (between Broadway and Mercer Street)
New York, NY 10012-1186
Curator: Laura Kruger

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