Hidden Text Messages

28 Jun

 A review of the Text Messages: Recent Work by Joshua Abarbanel exhibiting at the Zena and Pauline Gatov Gallery at the Alpert Jewish Community Center of Long Beach from June 1–July 15, 2012.

“Judaism has always regarded Hebrew as a sacred language, the medium of divine communication. For millennia, its sages and mystics have taught that the letters are no ordinary vehicle of expression. Indeed, the very word for letter in Hebrew—Ot— also means sign or wonder: that is, a heavenly revelation.” – Edward Hoffman, The Hebrew Alphabet: A Mystical Journey

In Text Messages, artist Joshua Abarbanel offers a series of nine intricately composed works that reflect on the relationship between Hebrew text and consciousness, exploring the visual metaphor of what is hidden and what is revealed. For this body of work, Abarbanel layers digital art, paper cuts, and other materials, manipulating Hebrew letters to create patterns and other motifs that both expose and hide the text, reflecting the artist’s own relationship with Hebrew. The works explore the mystery of the letter in its liturgical context—wherein the words can provide an access point into a greater level of understanding and connection—while at the same time acknowledging that the text can also act like a veil that conceals.

Joshua Abarbanel is a visual artist and professor of art at Los Angeles Harbor College. He received his undergraduate degrees in art and psychology from UC Berkeley and an MFA from UCLA, where he studied ceramics. Abarbanel’s digital art work has been exhibited at the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica, Hebrew Union College, UCLA’s and USC’s Hillel art galleries, and the Jose Drudis-Biada Art Gallery at Mount Saint Mary’s College, among other venues. A member of the Jewish Artists Initiative of Southern California, he is also co-founder and artistic director of Jewnion Label, a project devoted to the creation of clever Jewish-themed heraldic emblems. A selection of Jewnion Label designs is also on display in this exhibition.

For more information contact Eve Lunt (562) 426-7601 Ext. 1067 or [email protected]

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