ILLUMINATIONS: Aleph to Tav
A Mixed Media Exhibit Exploring the Symbolism of Hebrew Aleph Bet
Exhibited June 3 - July 27, 2018
Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City.
THE COLOR OF JEWISH PENICILLIN
Homage to Andy Warhol (1927-1987)
POP ART. Sometimes, when you are dedicated to conveying something intensely significant to you, you need to be aware that you don’t get so intent you lose your sense of humor. Although not Jewish himself, Warhol’s signature image of Campbell Soup cans is a perfect parody to include in this exhibit.
Why 27 letters? The final form of 5 letters are included.
"My fascination with letting images repeat and repeat - or in film's case 'run on' -
manifests my belief that we spend much of our lives seeing without observing.” Andy Warhol
Vinyl & Acrylic
20” x 40”
OTIYOT AS WORDS
Homage to Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997)
“Lichtenstein's signature Ben-Day dots, mechanical drawing and speech balloons became a trademark of Pop Art and its belief all forms of communication are filtered through codes or languages. It was obvious no one could better represent how Otiyot (Hebrew letters) are words as Lichtenstein’s artistry and creativity.” Lynn Rae
POP ART. An interesting fact– both Warhol and Haring did a Mickey Mouse series in 1981... 20 years after Lichtenstein’s “Look Mickey” challenged response was created. Yet Warhol is considered the Father of Pop Art.
Pop Art had its beginnings in 1961 when Lichtenstein’s son, pointing to a Mickey Mouse comic book challenged, "I bet you can't paint as good as that, eh, Dad?”
Vinyl & Acrylic, 43” x 30”
PLANETARY GLYPHICS, CELESTIAL OTIYOT
Homage to Adolf Gottlieb (1903-1974)
“When I saw Gottlieb’s pictographs, I felt I had discovered a kindred soul. His imagery, philosophy and style made him the perfect artist for my astrological representation of letters using Celestial script.” Lynn Rae
PICTOGRAPHS. Gottlieb radically changed his approach to painting while living in Tucson’s desert in 1937-38. He used universal symbols that transcended time, place, and language to appeal to the level of the unconscious mind and to offer a pathway of release from a trouble-ridden period in history.
“He wanted his art to have the same impact on all his viewers, striking a chord not because they had seen it before, but because it was so basic and elemental that it resounded within them.” Julio Gonzalez
Acrylics on Canvas, 24” x 24”
TRADITIONAL SYMBOLS IN CURSIVE
Homage to Ida Kohlmeyer (1912-1997)
“I selected a feminine and soft cursive font for Ida. Since she used the title “Symbols” for many of her paintings, it seemed fitting she would represent traditional glyphs associated with the aleph-bet. “ Lynn Rae
ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONIST. Ida’s enduring interest in the native arts began on her honeymoon. She was a traditional Southern housewife, taking her first class only after her second child was in school. She found herself astonished and moved by the spiritual aspect of painting. Influenced by Miro and his informal grid-like style.
“I’ve experienced an elevation of spirit, almost a mystical happening, where I am not doing the painting. It evolves under its own mysterious power. This exquisite state of being simulates a religious experience.” Ida Kohlmeyer
Fine Art Print 24” x 24”
Homage to Keith Haring (1958-1990)
“I find when I research so much, study with intensity or push myself to achieve a personal goal, I can lose touch with the joy of my objective. Haring kept me inspired and smiling.” Lynn Rae
POP ART. Haring achieved his Pop/Comic Art through whimsical graphic design and primacy of line. He created a visual language of vivid color and active figures that brings together man and the world.
“Art should be something that liberates your soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further.” Keith Haring
Gesso Board and Canvas
22 @ 8” x 8”
Homage to Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
“I selected Rothko to hide the letters in the color field to see if you, the viewer, can evoke any meaning when looking at the paintings. He advocated standing 18 feet away but since these panels are so small, I advise you stand 18” away.” Lynn Rae
ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM/COLOR FIELD. Freud, Jung and collective unconsciousness archetypes influenced Rothko. Nietzsche influenced his artistic goal of relieving modern man’s spiritual emptiness. Rothko wanted maximum interpretation without hindrance. Luminous colored rectangles were used as simplified means evoking emotional responses.
“I'm not an abstractionist. I'm not interested in the relationship of color or form or anything else. I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.” Mark Rothko
Acrylics on Canvas, 27 @ 8” x 10”
THE 32 FORMS OF THE ALEPH-BET
Homage to Audrey Flack (1931 - )
“Traditionally preschoolers learn the aleph- bet using cuddly animals, fruits and vegetables. Mimicking Audrey Flak’s photorealism technique I wanted to engage a larger audience. I selected colored pencils where the aleph bet is portrayed with a single familiar object to appeal to children of all ages who love color.” Lynn Rae
PHOTO REALISM. As a pioneer of this art genre, she incorporated projecting photographs as an aid to painting. She emphasized symbolism to create “universal” work that all can relate to and understand.
“What makes for great art is the courage to speak and write and paint what you know and care about.” Audrey Flack
Vinyl on Acrylic, 24” x 12”
GEMATRIA, LETTERS AS NUMBERS
Homage to Jules Olitski (1922-2007)
COLOR FIELD: Olitski excelled in the Color Field School of Art. He stained and sprayed pure color, as I do with my Aluminations®. Creating a clock allowed me to incorporate color with numbers to illustrate that Israeli clocks still use letters for the hours, to this day. Gematria is the same concept of letters having numerical value. Aleph to Yud represent 1 to 10; Chaf to Tzadi = 20 to 90; Kuf to Tav = 100 to 400. The numbers are figured in the same way Roman numerals are combined, as IV equals 4 or LXX equals 70.
"Color in color is felt at any and every place of the pictorial organization; in its immediacy - its particularity. Color must be felt throughout." Jules Olitski
AHAVAH, THE HEART OF THE MATTER
Homage to Jim Dine (1935- )
“This was the first artist I used in this exhibit because it is the symbol of אהבה Ahava, Love.” ~Lynn Rae
POP ART. In 1962, Dine joined Lichtenstein, Warhol and others in a groundbreaking exhibit, New Painting of Common Objects. This exhibition is historically considered one of the first Pop Art exhibitions in America where everyday objects took on new significance.
“We deal with letters every day, they are so common we don’t notice them. They are caught up in words.” Jim Dine
Watercolor, 22” x 28” with frame
STA”M is an acronym for the calligraphy used for sacred documents such as Torah, Tefillin and Mezuzot. This Bet Ari writing style has tagin (crowns) on many of its letters. Traditional script of Rabbi Issac Luria, the Arizal was used by Eron the soferim (scribe) I studied with in Israel. Referred to as Siddur Script it is also used in siddurs (prayer books), ketubahs (marriage contracts) and birth certificates.
I brought the scribe torn edged rice paper monoprints that I made in Tucson before I left for Israel. I divided the rice paper patterns into 4 sections to represent fire earth air and water. The final endeavor creates an easy way to see which letter is associated with what element.
Adonai s’fatai tiftach Ufee yagid t’hilatecha My Lord, Open my lips, that my mouth may declare your glory.
Fine Art Print, 23” x 29” with frame
Steel & Copper, 10” x 21”
When I first started creating Judaic art, I looked for opportunities to show how Jews and Muslims are connected. An example is my award winning Mizrach.
Focusing on shared similarities rather than differences for this exhibit I wanted to creative a visual connection between The Hebrew Shalom and Arabic Salaam. They are both mean PEACE and are derivations of the Proto-Semitic root Š-L-M.
As I conceptualized the interaction of these words I found by placing them on their side facing each other an image of two people having a conversation reiterated my philosophy.
Sharing conversations with “others” helps us to learn more about ourselves and the world we co -inhabit.
Acrylic & Aluminum, 12" x 20.5" x 39"h
HOW THE PARTS MAKE THE WHOLE
Homage to Louise Nevelson (1899-1988)
“Certainly as a woman sculptor I feel connected to Louise, but I was thrilled when I realized she also studied metaphysics. I admire her strength and determination to begin again and again to achieve her goal of following her soul’s heart desire.” Lynn Rae
Louise is an abstract expressionist sculptor of monumental, monochromatic, wall pieces and outdoor sculptures. Her wood collages can be described as a process starting with singular objects turning them into complex parts, which collectively create the whole experience. This echoes how individual letters create words.
“If you study metaphysics you’ll see that we can get out of ourselves. And maybe there is a bit of danger– So what? You have to have the courage to try. What would you do with life if you didn’t risk it?” L. Nevelson
Recycled Steel, 41.5" x 21.5"
FIRE, EARTH, AIR & WATER
This was the first effort to see if there was a pattern within the Aleph-bet to Fire Earth Air and Water. Here, as in the Sofer Stam’s formal style of calligraphy, there is no order to the elements but an interesting pattern emerged. What I realized by laying out the letters in this fashion is there is no pattern to the elements and the Otiyot (letters), but the concept of assigned elements still has metaphysical importance and attribution.
Mixed Media on Paper, 20” x 24” with frame
GATES OF TSFAT: 32 PATHS TO WISDOM
The 32 paths of wisdom are related to the word ‘heart’. In Hebrew, the word for heart, Läv – לב. , has the gematria value of 32.
Since 2010, I have returned to Tsfat, the Mystical City carved into a hill, four times. Since the first time I wandered the white stoned paths, I was intrigued by what laid beyond its gates. The Kabbalah began there in the 16th century and is connected to Sefer Yetzirah which begins, "With thirty-two mystical paths of wisdom God (Yah...) engraved and created His universe.”
The idea of using my gates to create an image that evoked a journey through the Gates of Wisdom was a collaboration with my grandson Samuel Alexander and a ten-year dream realized.
Fine Art Print, 28” x 36” x 1” with frame
22 VEHICLES OF LIGHT
“Forever the words of G-d are hanging in the heavens.” Psalms 119:89
The painted image of this Alumination represents what we read in Genesis on how G-d created the heavens, the dry land and the seas.
“The crucial thing to realize is that G‑d did not merely create the world once. His words didn’t emerge and evaporate. Rather, G‑d continues to create the world anew each and every moment. His words are there constantly, ‘hanging in the heavens.’ And the aleph-bet is the foundation of this ongoing process of creation.” Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov
Aluminum, 22” x 28” x 1”
IN THE BEGINNING
And G-d said, “Let there be light,
And there was light" Genesis 1:3
Light has always been the most favored metaphor for all forms of revelation. We speak of "G-dly light," "Divine light," the "new light" of the Redemption. We use expressions such as, "Do you still walk in darkness or have you seen the light?"
As physical light brightens our path so we don't stumble over obstacles, so the light of G-dliness, our spiritual awareness, helps us avoid the pitfalls on the journey of life. Light represents truth, eternal values, the spiritual, which transcends the mundane, and the temporal.
It is my sincere prayer your journey through this exhibition will shine a light on your path and offer you the inspiration of ancient symbolism wisdom.
Aluminum, 28” x 28” x 2”
TREE OF LIFE
"The Tree of Life is a universal symbol found in many spiritual and mythological traditions around the world. It symbolizes many things, including wisdom, protection, strength, bounty, beauty, and redemption." Lynn Rae
In Kabbalah, the Etz Hayim is mystical symbol to understand the nature of God and the manner inchicch the world was created.
“It is a tree of life for those who draw near it are fortunate.” Proverb 3:1, 18
Steel, 32” x 30”h
Mizrach is Hebrew for East. Traditionally, it is the direction Jews turn toward to pray, just as the Islamic people do. With both of these religions it is a reminder of the spiritual connection to Jerusalem.
This direction is traditionally considered the beginning point. It is for this reason both Jewish and Islamic people turn to the east, Jerusalem, to begin their day with prayer and meditation.
You can begin your own ritual at home by facing East each morning with a prayer and a moment of silent reflective thought.
A Mizrach is often hung on the East wall of a home reminding one Jerusalem throughout the day.
Aluminum, 17” x 12” x 3”
THE SOUL’S MISSION
According to the Talmud, before we were born, safely ensconced in the comfort of the womb, each soul (nefesh) had a personal angel in utero, who teaches us all the wisdom we will ever need to know on this planet. Everything. And then… just before we are born, the angel gives us a little “tap” between the nose and the upper lip and everything is forgotten.
Your Souls Mission is to remember
and achieve what you were taught.
Watercolor, 17” x 24” with Frame
NIKUDOT AS VOWELS
When I created Flack’s vibrantly colored aleph-bet of pencils, I realized I had to do the nikudot– the vowels– as educational tools, companion pieces. I found Morris Louis, who held his large paintings learning to control the flow and stain of rivulets of color. This created an image of a funnel like vessel holding the vowels and complemented Flack while both held their own styles. My Aluminations® are created in the same way as Louis did his stained canvases, holding them and dancing them into being.
"I am distrustful of oversimplifications but nonetheless think that there is nothing very new in any period of art: what is true is that it is only something new for the painter & that this thin edge is what matters." Louis Morris
Watercolor, 28” x 28” with frame
"For this piece of ritual art the letters of Shalom are arranged from top to bottom. Shalom is the traditional greeting and farewell salutation as well as the word for Peace. "After the lighting of the Erev Shabbath candles my family and guests embrace one another with the joyful wish of Shabbat Shalom. Try it, you’ll like it." Lynn Rae
Steel, 2.5" x 2.5" x 11"h
The Greek philosopher Philo interpreted “Adam Kadmon” as"original man," or "heavenly man." Stacking these four Hebrew letters creates a human form... and embodies dimensions of consciousness within human experience.
YUD – Head: Atziluth/Divine Wisdom.
Initial flash of inspiration, concept.
HEI– Shoulders and arms: Beriah/Divine Understanding.Broadening of concept (detail).
VAV– Heart: Yetzirah/Divine Emotions. Transformation,emotional involvement
and drawing of actual plans.
HEI– Legs: Assiah/Divine Action.
Steel, 7" x 3" x 12"h
"For this piece of ritual art the letters of Shabbat are arranged from top to bottom. Created for Friday night services the word Shabbat supports the Light. "After lighting the candles, family and guests embrace one another with the joyful wish of Shabbat Shalom." Lynn Rae
Steel, 3" x 6" x 9.5"h
This Sabbath candle holder represents the essence of coming together to create new memories while honoring time honored traditions.
"A great hostess gift."
Steel & Copper, 7" x 3" x 8"h
This is Malkhut, the Kabbalah’s female presence of G-d. She is Earth's divine, nurturing presence. On Sabbath she is above your head as a cloud of light enveloping you with tender protection, cradling you in peace with infinite kindness and absolute security.
"A beautiful gift for your matriarch." Lynn Rae
Steel & Copper, 4" x 3" x 11"h
L'CHA DODI Candlestick
The couple stands on a sunset cloud waiting to welcome the Sabbath. From the Song of Songs we read, “I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is Mine” “L’Cha Dodi”.
"This continues to be our most popular wedding gift." Lynn Rae
Steel & Copper, 7.5" x 3" x 9"h
CIRCLE OF FRIENDS Yahrzeit
"It is a Jewish ritual to light a candle on the anniversary (yahrzeit) of a loved one’s death. In the center the flame of human spirit is honored and celebrated by the gathered family and friends. A burning light is connected to the concept of immortality: stopping to remember is a way to be sure we will not forget." Lynn Rae
Steel, 3" x 3" x 3.5"h
It is said two angels hover over us on the Sabbath. This is the blessing angel under whose wisdom wings we are surrounded with light and loving-kindness that influences and protects us.
"A wonderful gift for a baby naming, first shabbat candle or bar/bat mitzvah." Lynn Rae
Steel & Brass, 7.5" x 3" x 7"h
"Dor L'Dor, from one generation to the next. It is a Jewish ritual to light a candle on the anniversary (yahrzeit) of a loved one’s death. In the center the flame of human spirit is honored and celebrated by the gathered family and friends. A burning light is connected to the concept of immortality: stopping to remember is a way to be sure we will not forget." Lynn Rae
Steel, 2.5" x 2.5" x 3"h"
FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS Menorah
"Menorahs always held a fascination for me. As I light the candles I realize my ancestors did the exact same thing. And now millions of people all over the world were staring at the candles just as I was doing. But I certainly never dreamed that thousands of families would be lighting a menorah I created. They continue to light my way as the Dancing Sylphs continue to bring creativity to my journey." Lynn Rae
This exquisite award-winning design captures the essence of the holiday season with its bright translucent colors and joyful figures proudly holding the lights aloft.
Steel & Copper
12" x 2.5" x 8"h & 18" x 5" x 12"h
ALEPH BET Menorah
"It was always my intention this menorah would be for children. I felt if the menorah had the whole aleph-bet.. aleph to tav... it would be as if you were staring into an all inclusive world, beginning to end. But it’s not only the children who can benefit from the light of the menorah. Everyone sitting together and thinking of the significance this joyous holiday holds, brings us closer to the light." Lynn Rae
Steel & Brass, 18" x 4" x 11"
ALEPH BET Congregational Menorah
A larger version of the Aleph Bet Menorah designed to be used in a public space. (not shown)
"It’s not only the children who can benefit from the light of the menorah. Everyone sitting together and thinking of the significance this joyous holiday holds, brings us closer to the light." Lynn Rae
Steel, 9” x 30” x 18”
This Decalogue Yad Holder uses each letter to represent a number and a word, as well as each of the Ten Commandments in its entirety. Starting with Aleph (top right) they proceed aleph-betically in order through Yud, the last letter on the bottom left. (Yad purchased separately.)
Both Jewish and Christian tradition hold the Ten Commandments as laws given to Moses created by the Hand of G-d. Therefore, they come from the highest authority and are the foundation of our ethics and morality.
10" x 3" x 11"
Traditionally a Yad is permanently attached to the Torah breastplate to aid in reading the finely written text. Recently, Yads have become a popular gift, especially for Bar or Bat Mitzvah’s commemorating the honor of reading from the Torah. A loop at the top allows you to attach a ribbon or chain of your choice if you wish to hang the art.
The word "hamsa" means five and is the fifth letter of the aleph bet, “Heh” .Many Jews believe that the five fingers of the hamsa hand remind its wearer to use their five senses to praise God. Hamsa hands often contain an eye symbol, which is a powerful talisman against the evil eye. In addition to averting the gaze of the evil eye, it brings its wearer or owner happiness, luck, health, and good fortune.
Sterling Silver or Bronze
1" x 1.5"
Shalom and the Arabic word Salaam. They are both mean PEACE and are derivations of the Proto-Semitic root Š-L-M. In Hebrew it is also hello and goodbye, while in Muslim countries, it is a way of greeting people. As I approached the layout of these words in their language I was stunned how similar they are. Then I found by placing them on their side facing each other an image of two people having a conversation reiterated my philosophy.
0.75" x 2"
The Sephirot are often described as gates through which we can experience the many faces of G-d. When viewed together they become a model of balance and allow for the opportunity of repairing the world.
It is often referred to as the Tree of life, Etz Chaim.
Sterling Silver or Bronze
1" X 2.5"
"The woman holding a baby within the solar disc represents the JOY of new life as well as any moment when a new undertaking causes pure delight. L’Chaim!" Lynn Rae
Bronze on Marble, 4" x 4" x 12"h
"It is the intent of this sculpture to remind us of the great human ability to take personal control of life changes. It is possible to take these transitional passages in our life and turn obstacles into opportunities." ~Lynn Rae
Bronze on Wood, 9.5" x 4" x 14.5"
"This sculpture is a reflection on how I most fondly remember being a young Mother. I loved it when my children snuggled close to my ever vigilant, protective watch. I now have had the same experience with my grandchildren and it is no less bonding. Ema is the Hebrew word for mother." Lynn Rae
Bronze, 5"x 5" x 12.5"
"Here, bridge is a double entendre; it is a support as well as a connection between two places. A figure ever so carefully balances itself as it crosses Kabbalah Bridge etched with words from the Tree of Life, which is an essential component of the Kabbalah, an ancient mystical doctrine." Lynn Rae
12" x 5" x 14"