Cross Stitch paintings: 2010- ongoing
This group of large paintings (8' x 6') refers to people’s struggle to endure, despite the nightmare of conflict. The slow, labourious process mirrors the desire for domestic stability in the face of war and destruction. To my mind, the paintings reflect the plight of innocents, their patience, hope and also despair, in their struggle to survive under siege.
The patterns in these paintings are largely invented, but are influenced by Afghan war rugs and Palestinian embroidery. The works are painted over the entire surface with small, regular marks (3/8" square) based on the embroidered cross stitch. This physical repetition is a metaphor for the effort to anchor and protect ordinary life, despite violence and displacement.
The all-over patterning of early paintings gives way to areas of abstraction, and finally complete abstraction, still rendered in cross stitch marks. These later works are an alternative way of suggesting the upheaval and fear experienced by those who are endangered by conflict.
A floor installation or 'map' visually describes land or territory. Each of the floor panels (referring to sea, mountains, city etc.) is reflected in the mirror behind. The images in the mirror are a land only dreamed of, but not yet created. Thr mirrored dream is the equal of the 'real' map, and reflects entitlement to an actual homeland.
Israeli-Palestinian, Palestinian-Israeli Dictionary: 2009-11
In this book work, a ‘dictionary’, is created in the form of an accordion book. On individual pages, simple objects are represented both by a visual image and by the identifying word above and below in Hebrew and Arabic. Each page has its double, in which the placement of languages is reversed and the image is mirrored.
The dictionary ‘entries’ are chosen for their meaning to both Israelis and Palestinians. Like literary metaphors, the images might resonate differently depending on the experience of the beholder. The images are taken from my paintings (oil/ handmade paper).
Elisabeth’s Book (a Holocaust book) 2008-10
In December 1944, Eszter Schwartz gave a handmade gift to Elisabeth Raab. It was a small book made of black felt pages (about 2” square) onto which she had sewn tiny metal cut outs, one on each page.
At the time both women were slaves in an Auschwitz munitions factory. It was Ezster’s ‘job’ to cut a small piece of superfluous metal from hand grenades. Out of these scraps, she fashioned simple shapes- heart, boat, flower - from which these digital prints are taken.
The double images of this 22’ installation are taken from a small souvenir book of pressed wildflowers produced in Palestine in the early part of the twentieth century. These fragile dried flowers have been scanned and altered to produce double images. Each equal half is both the same and the reverse of the other, positive and negative renderings of the same image.
‘Border’ is the literal construction of a fence or wall from these images.
Flowers of the Holy Land: 2005, 2004
In these digital prints, the flower images are doubled to indicate equality and difference.
Perhaps the flowers are Israelis and Palestinians, their interwoven and conflicted histories, and their desire for justice.
Andalusia projects: 2001- 2006
In the Andalusia installations, I examine an early felicitous period in Jewish-Muslim history, that of mediaeval Spain. The religious tolerance and security of the time resulted in a culture of beauty and learning in the arts, medicine, architecture and poetry.
Records of the Spanish Inquisition trials yielded information about the cuisine of Conversos, those Jews who ostensibly converted to Christianity, but remained secret Jews. Their Jewish cooking styles, different from their Christian neighbours, betrayed their clandestine lives to the authorities.
In this installation, texts from Inquisition testimony are incorporated into still life paintings. The texts are courtroom evidence of the continuing Jewish lives of those accused.
Still Life with Her Recipes: 1998-9
In 1944, a miraculous recipe book was written by Elisabeth Raab in Auschwitz . In the nightmare of brutality and starvation, her memories of home and food connected her to her previous life, and to her essential humanity.
This wall installation is comprised of pairs of open pages. One side of the pair is a still life of a particular food, the other, a shadow or memory of the same image.