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MY PAINTINGS, MY ART
It is my firm conviction, that one’s art should stand alone. That being said, it can not be denied that people, myself included, enjoy reading about all the trappings, the history the ideas and the thoughts behind the creativity. To me, art is but about one essential element…feelings. All else is incidental and of secondary importance. The successful language of communicating one’s innermost feelings through the various creative media of painting, sculpture, literature, music, film, theatre, etc., etc. is the one dictate which constitutes all things artistic. It is of the most basic necessity. It is the universal human spirit that is manifested through one’s personal language. I gladly proclaim that much of my own work has reflected the centuries of Russian and Jewish experiences and traditions. Yet, there is no “ethnic” status to these works beyond the image which is seen on the surface. For even the great folk arts, behind the surface, all transcend the provinciality of the theme and are universal in their greater meanings. The beloved folk Russian melodies of old served significantly as influences on the master composers, and were often incorporated into the music of Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky among many others. Same thing goes for painting, such as Picasso and the Cubists with Africa. There are those less sophisticated minds who are not able to look at art with love, they can not see an artwork behind the first surface and only judge a painting according to primitive standards of “art-chic”. So many non-objective or even “trendy” pictures are nothing but primitive concoctions at their core. True art must convey that which speaks from one’s soul and heart and ignores intellectual badgering. Rembrandt is a perfect example of the greatest achievements in art. Yet there are academically oriented groups of individuals, preoccupied with analyzing the works of Rembrandt. They pass judgment on these pictures by means of quasi-“scientific” methodology, basing their assessments upon examining beneath all the layers of glazes and paint. But due to their own limitations, these people all fail. As the future will tell. Lacking the required passions and insights, these academics never search far enough. Ego and vanity are not great credentials for assessing art. Without the gift of perception, one can not discover an artist’s soul. Unfortunately this is all too common a problem, that in the long, long run may hopefully change. Rembrandt Van Rijn, just like Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelagelo, Carravaggio, Vermeer, Hals, Daumier, Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and really all impassioned artists , were people who basically conveyed their desires, love, fear, their feelings. I like to think of this being the case with me as well. And I say so modestly. True, I love to paint subjects which often are identifiable by a certain cultural or ethnic heritage. But it is also colour and composition which I deeply love. The theme is incidental to the overall pictorial image. In other words, my paintings of either the legendary classic Russian Opera Singer Chaliapin or of a pious Rabbi lovingly holding the Torah Scrolls to his chest constitute no more nor less an “ethnic” painting then does a portrait of a Venetian Dodge by Titian. Or of King Philip of Spain by Velazquez. Napoleon by Ingres. Or for that matter those rambunctious Flemish peasants and farmers by Bruegel, Van Ostade, Brouwer, and Teniers. No difference. And that important factor is reflected by my great many collectors who are situated in most countries throughout Europe, the Americas and the rst of the world. Through my many past exhibitions, these works attracted among the widest groups of admirers. My paintings come straight from my soul and ring true to them all. My Russians, Ukrainians and Jews speak to everyone with an open heart and automatically translate into French, Italian, Swiss, Dutch, American, Spanish and whatever. Weather a Jew or a Christian, a European or American, Japanese or Australian, collectors of all nations relate to the overall humanity which, genuinely universal, is embodied not only in all my work, but is also lodged deeply within the cultures that form my life blood. Certainly, I am an anomaly of sorts. Not that different from “Lionel the Lion Faced Man” or the “Bearded Lady”. Born officially as a “Displaced Person” in 1954 while my parents were in transit, escaping the evils of both nazism and communism, I entered this world having no single country to call my own but plenty of roots. When I was three, I began drawing and at seven did my first oils. From then on, I well knew what my language and my home were. All my life has been spent between many different counties and places (and still is), and if one asks which is home, I can say all of them…sort of. I am at home in most places, but…my soul, which is reflected throughout my art is my one and only true homeland. Politics are alien to me and I do not feel lacking for never having participated in a political election. The world is my home and art my language. Today we have a European Union, but that is how I always chose to view my world. Considering myself an advanced individual, speaking in spiritual and cultural terms, I remain fully independent of the constraints which inhibit most of society. This is a world that God had created and people have subsequently shaped and molded to suit their own whims, for better, and more then often then not, for much worse. Through art, not unlike prayer, one can connect with one’s inner spirit, that special untainted purity which comes straight from our Creator in Heaven, a wonderful gift that often is not realized or appreciated. The great eternal religions have presented phenomenal gifts to civilization. Judaism, Christianity, they offer us the impetus for achieving that important connection to the soul. For me, art being a spiritual life-affirming process, does this also. Or it should. We go back to the word, “feelings”. To convey feelings is a spiritual odyssey. A reality that defiantly stands in opposition to much in our cold and mechanical age with its abundant hostilities and trendy denial of the pursuits of things beautiful and soulful. Education minus substance means zero! Coming to terms with higher levels of perception equals positive energy and that means art. When one is not afraid to paint, write, create music or whatever which is based on one’s inner feelings, on love, that is the essential of art.