helene

brenenson

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From the teachings instilled in me, I learned that our bodies are sacred and on loan to us from God. Too often, the spiritual representation of a person has no correlation with what is bestowed on the inside.  However, by looking at the wrinkles on the hand, I am able to imagine a life for this person.  As a painter, my hands play an integral part in my life.  Just as people take their body for granted and look over just how incredible it is, they often displace the preeminent component of hands.  I strive in my work to show the different ways hands can be utilized, contorted, and displayed.  

 

My life as an observant Jew has taught me a lot about tradition by means of repetition. The ritual involved in my observance has led to my obsession of letters.  The prayers I say over again every day are full of these beautiful characters. The letters pop out at me as I pray, as I turn my head and see them in the art on my walls, as I look at the names of my family members, and more.  I am surrounded. Forming both Hebrew and English letters out of hands has become a main focus in my work. I do so with ritualistically created color pallets, in order to stay clear of painting the hands in their original skin tone.  While the individual’s identity is unknown to the viewer, it is meant for them to imagine that perhaps the hands they are seeing are their own.  

 

While the viewer may feel deceived by not understanding what I have written with in my work, I find these paintings not about the literal word.  Rather about the ways a human hand can be positioned to say things to each other, about the relationships we form with our hands, and about the reflexes and reactions we use our hands for.  Regardless, I am able to combine my fascination with the hand in conjunction with written word to form works of art.

2020 WPUNJ GRADUATE ART

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