“The elusive connection between art and moral life is the subtext to Seeing Sinai. I came to Jewish practice Jewish thought and practice as an adult. I was attracted to Judaism as a path in which every part of life was brought into vital interrelationship- – with the unhappy exception, I found, of serious visual art. Through study, I began to feel that ideas within kabbalistic Torah interpretation were surprisingly analogous to understandings of relational, dynamic unity in abstract painting. In the early 1990’s while continuing to pursue my secular abstract painting practice, I began to explore this similarity. Seeing Sinai.
In the early 2000’s I decided that to delve further into these ideas, I should work with one of the leading teachers of Jewish thought with whom it has been my good fortune to study. I commenced a collaboration with Prof. Arnold Eisen, then Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University and now the Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Prof. Eisen and I decided to work together on ‘reading’, responding though painting and midrash, Exodus 33-34; the section of the Torah in which Moses returns to the summit of Mount Sinai after the debacle of the Golden Calf, asks for God’s renewed support, and then, for himself, asks to see God’s Glory. Aside from wanting to incorporate my ideas about color and kabbalah into the works, my interest was in the status of seeing in the Torah: is there a conflict between seeing and the moral message on Sinai?
Four paintings and three commentaries by Prof. Eisen were the result, exhibited as Seeing Sinai: Meditations on Exodus 33-34. Please view the following page to see the four paintings and their relationship to the Biblical text. Click on the paintings to enlarge. For more information on the Seeing Sinai project, or the Commentaries please contact me by email.