10/4/06, 14″ x 11″, acrylic paint on panel.
About the Liver Painting Series
In the early 2000’s, I encountered a book called In My Flesh I see God, A Treasury of Rabbinic Insights about the Human Anatomy, by Avraham Yaakov Finkel (London, Jason Aronson, Inc., 1995.) I was intrigued by how odd, fanciful, yet subtly and unexpectedly true some of the phrases about our physical body and its relationship with the unseen–the Divine–were. Almost every sentence I read was inspiring to me–spiritually and visually. I began this series of paintings composed of images and text by using the phrase (from p. 164) “The Life Force Rests in the Liver”, as a seed text. With the exception of the phrase painted into Liver Series #4, all the phrases came from Rabbi Finkel’s book. (The sole exception is in Liver Series #4, “On the seashore of endless worlds, children play.” This is from a poem by Rabindranith Tagore, the Indian poet.
I feel that I have only scratched the surface of this marvelous compendium, and that someday I might return to this series in some form. For example, there’s the phrase on page 5 by the Ba’al Shem Tov (influential 18th century Rabbi, source of Chasidism) as follows: “Whatever action you do down here in this world, evokes a similar action by God, for it says, ‘God is your shadow’ (Psalm 121:5) Your shadow mimics everything you do . . .” What we are just beginning to be aware of–the interrelatedness of everything in our universe–is in actuality very, very old!
About Liver Painting #6:
This image was used on the cover of each of two volumes of Jose Faur’s The Horizontal Society, Understanding the Covenant and Alphabetic Judaism,
Academic Studies Press, Boston, 2008. Rabbi Faur is Professor Emeritus at the Law School, Netanya Academic College, Netanya, Israel.
Following are notes from the sources I drew upon for my imagery:
Golden Doves with Silver Dots, Jose Faur.
Bible, p. 644. “And I looked, and, behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, a great cloud, with a fire flashing up, so that a brightness was round about it; and out of the midst thereof as the colour of electrum, out of the midst of the fire. . . . Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel at the bottom hard by the living creatures, at the four faces thereof. . . . And when the living creatures went, the wheels went hard by them. . . . And over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of a firmament, like the colour of the terrible ice, stretched forth over their heads above.” Ezekiel, v. 4 – vs. 22. (wind, great cloud with fire flashing up. 2 wings covered thin bodies. Lightening. sky above rainbow).
The Particulars of Rapture, Reflections on Exodus, Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg – menora. p. 325: When He showed him the construction of the menora, Moses had difficulty. So God said, “Look, I am fashioning it in front of you” He showed him white fire, red fire, black fire, green fire and of them fashioned the menora, with its cups and knobs, its blossoms and six branches, and said to him, “This is the work of menora.” (Num 3:4)–showing him with His finger. Nevertheless, Moses had difficulty with it. What did God do? He engraved it upon his hand and told him. “Descend and fashion it as I have engraved it upon your hand as it is said, ‘Look andpatterns … . ‘” (Exod 25:40). 6 branches, cups and knobs. Numbers 8:4, p. 325. Exodus 25:40. Zornberg says of this: “Moses’ hands are now engraved with a vision.”, p. 326
Fire . . . can explain anything.” Bachelard, The Psychoanalysis of Fire, Gaston Bachelard (she quotes),,,,, p. 4. Boston, Beacon, 1964, p. 7.
Palm knowledge: etched into the hand. Zornburg, Particulars, Discussion of touch, the tenderness of touch: p. 327. the first basket. “The fingers of both hands intertwined are the first basket.” . . ‘It was the fingers forming a hollow to scoop up water which made the cup real.”
The wheels are spoken of as wheels for the chariot in the first section of Ezekial–Ezekial’s vision of the angels who were propelled by wheels.
Glass & fish darting – ceiling No Star Too Beautiful, An Anthology of Yiddish Stories from 1382 to the Present p. 104. “How Odem Behaved toward the Baal-Shem-Tov”. Edited and translated by Joachim Neugroschel.
Nebukim: perplexity. Spelled: Nun Bet Vav Khaf Yod Final Mem fashion them according to their