Thursday, April 1, 2010

More Paintings: I Was Here and What Is Left

Two more paintings to add to my Lithuania collection.  The first is recycled from another painting I shared on this blog called "Tombstone Braille".  I decided I wasn't quite satisfied with it and attempted to rework it.  Along the way I destroyed it and then turned it into a new painting. Despite my frequently expressed wish for an artwork undo button, I often find that my favorite works comes from being willing to destroy and re-create.

The painting is called "I Was Here" and is based on the Ninth Fort located outside of Kaunas, Lithuania.   The Ninth Fort was a place of mass murder used by the Nazis to kill 50,000 Jews.  In addition to Lithuanian Jews, this site was used for the murder of Jews from France, Germany and Austria.  The building was used as a temporary holding point prior to executions in adjacent killing fields. If the Nazis didn't complete all their murders during the work day, they held the Jews overnight until the next day.  It was in the holding cells that I saw the imagery which inspired this painting.  Carved into the bluish rose walls were names and dates.  A last attempt to say, "I was here", to assert one's existence in the face of death.   When I painted over the face in the earlier painting, it still showed through the layers of paint.   I liked the effect and decided this subject required a face to remind the viewer that a person stood facing this wall as they carved their last words.

The second painting that I've completed is based on a vestige of the great synagogue of Vilnius.  In 1938 the synagogue was celebrating its 500 year anniversary.  The synagogue survived the war, but was badly damaged and torn down by the Soviets.  In the Tolerance Museum I found the doors to the Torah Ark.  I was captivated by their handcrafted quality and surprised by how modern they appeared.  I loved the variation in colors on the metal and wanted to try to capture it with paint.  Because I made use of metallic paint, the colors change with the light.  The name of the painting is "What Is Left".

1 comment:

  1. The transformation in your work is surreal and a splendor to behold. Evelyn