The arrival of Judaism into the Americas was a watershed moment for religion and humankind. Thus, the 2017 Jerusalem Biennale entitled “Watershed” will focus on this prolific moment in American history and will encourage us to ask ourselves how has Judaism affected the Americas, specifically the United States, and what it means to be Jewish and American in the 21st Century.
“Jewish Artists in America”, a featured exhibition at the Jerusalem Biennale, will include statements about Judaism from three important contemporary American artists, each of whom’s work reflects diversity with unique perspectives. The works of Barbara Hines, George Tobolowsky and Jeff Brosk are portals of insight and understanding, each offering a unique and powerful perspective of Judaism that is distinctively American.
For the JB2017 “Watershed Moments in Israeli History” exhibition, Houston resident and nationally acclaimed artist Barbara Hines created five large works on canvas which incorporate silk screen process with acrylic brushwork. In addition, she is exhibiting two large scale oil on canvas works from a past exhibition, ”Mysteries, Signs and Wonders”. The pieces are a reminder that the land of Israel was given to the Jewish people for their mission in the world, she says. For Hines, Judaism is more than a religion: it’s a nation, and one with a unique obligation to fulfill a holy mission. The inspiration for much of Hines’ artwork and especially her latest collection is her Jewish heritage. The re-discovery of her Jewish ancestry was a major turning point in her life, and in her parenting, she says. As a constant traveller, she records photographically, draws and writes, retrieving enormously from her visual diary and personal archive. Her paintings are currently in private collections in Europe, the United States and Australia.
As a native of Dallas, Texas, George Tobolowsky spent the first few decades of his career in the business world before embarking on his own artistic path. Over the past ten years, he has produced over 450 sculptures, 30 solo Museum and Public Art Exhibitions and 31 Group Exhibitions throughout the U.S. His metal sculptures are made from steel and stainless steel “found objects”. These found objects however, are not of the everyday sort, but rather bulky industrial metal castoffs that Tobolowsky scours scrap yards and fabrication plants to find. He rarely alters these metal pieces but instead works to fit the individual scraps together – much like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle – into balanced compositions. Influenced by artists such as James Surls, Louise Nevelson, Julio Gonzalez and David Smith, many of Tobolowsky’s works are one part assemblage and one part recycling that represent a logical extension of the welded steel sculpture tradition.
The third American artist featured in the exhibit Is Jeffrey Brosk. Based out of New York, Brosk’s artistic process is a collaboration between the materials and himself. It deals with creating a harmony of form and material by combining his aesthetic concerns with the character and uniqueness inherent in the material. The most important influence in his work both physically and spiritually is the western landscape in the United States. Brosk’s work can be seen as a distillation of his experience with that landscape, in combination with his ongoing exploration of the sensuous and eccentric qualities of the natural materials. This initiates a process of expressing a larger notion of nature by using specific natural elements. His large scale environments are inhabited physically, while the wall sculptures are inhabited psychologically. Both are meant to establish a sense of place in the spirit and the mind.
Curated by Scott Peck, Jewish Artists in America is a call to admiration and appreciation of the Jewish Faith, Symbolism, Culture and the State of Israel. The exhibit will be on exhibit at Hamachtarot Museum, 1 Mishol Hagvura St. in Jerusalem, Israel, from October 8 to November 16th. For more information or to purchase tickets please visit http://www.jerusalembiennale.org.