Expressions of Spirituality

The paintings and drawings in this collection have been exhibited  four times. Sizes vary from 4’ x 7’ to 12” x 16″. Work is not for sale.

Prompted by a photograph by an unknown photographer reproduced in the New York Times, announcing the television series “Genocide” that aired on WNET TV August 1997,  children in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. My painting was born of passion and grief as I searched for my Jewish heritage, unknown to me until I was about 30 years of age. A Rosenberg by name and heritage, perhaps one of these young condemned innocents are related to me.

The figures that stretch across the background could represent Christ’s disciples (where is the 12th). They all wear masks. All of us wear masks on our journey from light to light…for this is the motion of Christ in the painting, he is floating from light to light while dead, a titled table to the right, and two abstracted wine glasses at the base of the table: the sign of infinity. The colors surge out of the middle ground and jump into the background. Careful observation can discern that one of the figures is seated—a blaze of colors at and through the head. Who is he? Who are we?

From my Jewish heritage. This mystical vision I heightened by the sharp angular features of the Rabbi, dictated by the extended forehead and uprising hair. Strong lines, accenting the jaw, surround the small neck and recessed eyes with deep brows. I developed a painting from this drawing but it was in no way as strong and compelling and I destroyed it. The great unrest represented in the drawing; perchance it speaks to my own unresolved Jewish heritage.

To wear a “Yellow Star”, what a degrading symbol to impose on anyone! In German cities in Hitler’s Germany, Jews were forced to wear a “Yellow Star,” fashioned often out of old cloth; this to show everyone that this person is Jewish and to mark that person as un-desirable. How anyone can dehumanize another astonishes me to this very day. Yet, I too have, in some subtle ways, dehumanized others. This painting reminds me of my failing, especially my failing to confront my own bigotry, and not to stand up to those who have made others wear a “Yellow Star,” not, of course as in Germany, but to wear a “Yellow Star,” nevertheless by demeaning that person’s humanity.

I was listening to Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony and was facing a blank canvas. My painting flowed with the music, as I recall. I was able to develop the entire piece as I listened to the music. It was painted in 1988; I revisited it from time-to-time, seeing what I needed to do to make it better. This didn’t happen until 1998-99 when I put the piece back up on the easel and revised the colors. Fortunately, I had the good sense not to change the theme or the general composition of the painting. but to work out the paint, to paint better. After all, over 10 years of intense work in art had passed since I did this early work,  frankly some needed and were totally revised, over-painted or destroyed. It is still going on as I go back, and wonder what in the hell I was about in the first place.

I have some pride in knowing when to let go, to stop. I may not be good at this in my personal relationships, but I sure know when to quit when I am painting. I think an artist must let the viewer interpret the piece, to sense the value that is included in the actual doing of the art.