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trees of providence

Trees of Providence

Throughout the analysis of this drawing I will refer to a number of fundamental Kabbalistic concepts (Hebrew terms in brackets), which should be interpreted metaphorically as opposed to literally. This piece visualizes philosophical concepts relating to morality and free choice, as presented in "A knowing heart" (Da'at Tevunot) - a masterpiece written by a 17th century Italian Jewish philosopher called Moses Chaim Luzzatto (Ramhal).

In the beginning God created an Empty Space ("Halal Panui") - when God concealed His infinite essence in order to make a finite world of choice for man to act in). This is represented by the outer circle, which is the limit between the infinite world of Atzilut and the limited worlds of Beriyah, Yetzirah and Aasiyah – the 3 concentric circles.

God governs the world with two sources of providence: Revelation (or He'erat Panim - top white semi-circle) and Concealment (or Hester Panim - bottom black semi-circle) . These two sources of providence are expressed in a succession of spiritual realms – in Yetzirah (second concentric circle) they are the opposites of light and darkness, and in Aasiyah (inner circle), they are the opposites of good and evil.

As a result of the man's fall when he ate from the mythological tree of knowledge, these opposing forces of good and evil, which had until then existed as abstract concepts external to man, became part of his internal existence. The result of this is to be experienced in the conflict between our spiritual desires (central white half-circle) and our material desires (central black half circle).

In order to overcome the merging of good and evil in our psyche, we must learn to distinguish between good and evil, and cast away the evil by choosing the good. By choosing to live according to his spiritual self (the white spiral), man gives power to the providence of Revelation, and diminishes the power of Concealment.

If, however, man chooses to be controlled by his material desires, (the black spiral), he is led to an existence of darkness, and thus gives power to the providence of concealment. This causes man to become ensnared in confusion and suffering, and more effort is needed in order to rectify the damage which he has caused himself. This is symbolized by the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (the golden tree in the bottom half), whose roots are based in the providence of Concealment.

When mankind reaches its rectification (Tikkun), there will be no more concealment, and only the providence of Revelation will remain. This is symbolized by the kabbalistic Tree of Life (the diagram of the ten sefirot in the top half), which is the means by which God bestows abundance onto man. In the future, Revelation will conquer Concealment, and the world will be united in infinite perfection.

The Sefirot are energies that relate to each other in order to connect between two entities. They are represented by shapes that reflect their essence in a visual manner and their meaning is as follows:

Keter – White, providence of Revelation
Chochma – First spark of information before processing.
Binah – Logical system which processes the information
Da’at – Combination of Chochma and Bina.
Chesed – Unlimited giving
Gevura – Unlimited constriction
Tiferet – Balance between giving and constriction.
Netzach – Attack, aggression.
Hod – Defense, steadiness.
Yesod –Passes the potential energy of the above sefirot to Mallkut
Malkut – Recieves potential energy from Yesod and actualizes it in the creation of a new entity.

Limited edition (/60) canvas reproduction, 20x20 inch: $295
shechina

Shechina

This piece presents the concept of attraction between opposites as expressed by the relationship between a man and woman:
The central letter ‘Alef’ joins the blue and red circles. According to Kabbalistic sources, the Alef represents the connection between two opposites, where each force has an essence that is based in it’s counterpart, thus attracting one to the other.

The two circles represent two opposite forces; the red circle contains a graphical representation of the sound waves for the letter ‘shhh’ ( ‘shin’, emotion, fire, female), and the blue circle represents the sound ‘mmm’ (‘mem’, intellect, water, male).

The connection between the two circles represents the unity between the male and female forces. The harmony created by this connection is symbolized by the Star of David, which is made up of two equilateral triangles of opposite allignments - known symbols for male and female.
The Hebrew verse that surrounds the central composition reads “Neither man without a woman, nor woman without a man, and neither of them without Divine presence”.

$310

Limited edition (/60) canvas reproduction, 20x20 inch: $310
light and dark

Light and Dark

This work focuses on the contrast between hot and cold colors. Blue is associated with water, while red is associated with fire.
While red and blue are both primary colors, the background is composed of the three secondary colors are arranged in alignment with an electromagnetic field. This is a physical representation of the interaction between two opposites.
The text adjacent to the two horns is taken from a Jewish prayer said in the evenings, meaning “light before darkness, darkness before light”, and is an expression of the cyclical nature of reality, where one state of existence gradually turns into its’ opposite. In order to further this idea, shapes symbolizing the sun and the moon are embedded in each horn.
The horns themselves are intertwined in each other in such a way that they are inseparable from each other, expressing the relativity of each state to its’ opposite.

Limited edition (/60) canvas reproduction, 20x20 inch: $295
Sanctuary in time

Sanctuary in Time

This drawing expresses the significance of the Sabbath as described in Jewish sources, and explores the relevance of sanctity in both time and space.

The seven day week is represented by seven circles, arranged so that the white circle symbolizes Shabbat, while the peripheral 6 circles (weekdays corresponding to the color spectrum achieved by diffracting white light) are arranged around it. The weekdays contain light and dark elements, indicating man’s choice between good and evil in order to rectify the world throughout the week, while Shabbat is pure light, a state of perfection that parallels that of the biblical Garden of Eden – a metaphorical “island in time”.

Just as in paradise man was not required to make any changes to his surroundings, so too on Shabbat man relents from consciously changing the world. 39 categories of activities were employed in order to construct the biblical Tabernacle (Mishkan), and it is these activities that we symbolically refrain from on Shabbat in order to instill sanctity in our weekly cycle of time. This is represented by the 39 black triangles.

The white cardioid emanating and returning to the central circle expresses the idea that Shabbat is the energy source of all blessing for the rest of the week, instilling an aspect of Shabbats’ essence in each day of the week.
The four corners depict the four metaphorical rivers that left the Garden of Eden, while the figures represent the Cherubs that guard the entrance to Paradise. Around the frame is the traditional song Shalom Aleichem – sung in Jewish homes on Friday evening before the Shabbat meal.

Limited edition (/60) canvas reproduction, 20x20 inch: $310
beyond time

Beyond Time

This project expresses the astronomical structure of the Hebrew calendar, which is based upon both solar and lunar movement. In the centre is the sun, while the ring composed of red and blue circles represents the earths orbit of the sun in 365.25 days. Shabbat is represented by a blue dot, while weekdays are red.
The waves express the months, where one wave symbolizes one month. 12 months amount to 354 days, 11 days less than a solar year. The Jewish calendar compensates by adding a leap month (Adar II) to 7 set years in a 19 year cycle – resulting in 19 differently colored lines, with 7 colors containing 13 waves, and 12 containing 12 waves.
We count the Jewish calendar from a theoretical date 12 months before the Biblical story of man's creation on the 6th day – and is represented by the gold bars
Each month corresponds to a different Zodiac sign, determined by the star constellation the sun covers in that particular month (the silver dots joined by lines).
Around the month waves are the names of the different festivals which fall in their set months, and the trees describe the cyclical change of seasons throughout the year
The quote around the border is taken from a Hasidic book called Likutei Mohoran, written by the famous Rabbi Nahman of Breslov, and dictates that God is beyond time, and that by enhancing our consciousness we can reach a level of eternal existence where time is nullified.

Limited edition (/60) canvas reproduction, 20x20 inch: $355
creation of colour canvas

Creation

Much of the inspiration for this piece comes from the Biblical account of creation (Genesis 1), which describes the order of creation. This piece is based on 4 evolutionary stages of creation, which is visualized graphically in the form of the 4 circles.

Each circle encompasses a different stage of creation, emanating from the center:

1. Inner circle: “And the land was chaos…” – Genesis 1, 2. Grey – chaos, lack of differentiation between light and dark
2. Second circle: “And God divided between Light and Darkness” – Genesis 1, 4. Mixture of black and white particles -separation between light and dark on a conceptual level.
3. Third circle: “ And God called the Light; Day, and the Darkness He called Night” – Genesis 1’ 5. Black section and white section – separation of light and dark into two separate entities – night and day
4. Outer circle: “In the image of God he created him, male and female he created them” – Genesis 1, 27. Transformation from cosmic forces of light and dark into worldly opposing forces – red and blue.

Suspended over the whole piece is a line that suspends the opposing forces in a state of tension at every stage. This line represents the attraction between opposites which is present at all levels of existence.

Between the boundaries of the outer circles is a repetition of the Hebrew phrase ‘Ein Ani’ (“There is no “I”). It is interesting to note that the same letters used for the word "Self" can be re-arranged to spell "Nothingness", and in the context of this drawing this can be understood as the nullification of the ego, in order for two opposites to complete each other.

Limited edition (/60) canvas reproduction, 20x20 inch: $300