BETWEEN THE STRAITS: DOV LEDERBERG RETROSPECTIVE
Curator: Noa Lea Cohn Art Shelter Gallery, Jerusalem
Dov Lederberg’s paintings and video work are enigmatically spiritual, deriving inspiration from teachings and intuitions in the secrets of the Jewish mystical tradition, namely the Kabbalah. This overt spiritual calling is indeed refreshing. One usually encounters an art world a little mute on the subject. Lederberg’s paintings are mainly rendered with his skillful handling of air brush techniques. The effect is dazzling, illuminating and literally moving.
One might recall the optical effects of the op art movement of last century as possibly influential here, as well as the theoretical and psychological idea of gestalt, wherein the mind (eye) puts things together in a holistic, synthetic manner seeking unity and bypassing step-by-step logic. In fact, there are 3-D glasses at the show. As the visitor sees with these glasses, the works are created in such a manner that the images push and pull, and dimensions within dimensions vie for attention as images recede and protrude.
The exhibition is also timely, as the period of mourning that marks this time of the Jewish year coheres with the overall theme. For there is a sense of burning and dangerous fires in the work. On the other hand, at a deeper level, the artist is exploring the process of burning as a kind of purification process, the destruction of the seed that is a prelude to rebirth and growth. Fire also seems to transmute into ice; flowers appear to grow; old rocks emerge sunk into a tale of historical import and the psychedelic nature of the color and geometries give one a sense of constant movement, ebb and flow.
One can trace Lederberg’s painting style to his interest and experience with film. Already decades earlier, the artist worked in film in New York with the likes of John Mecas, Nam June Paik and Andy Warhol. And this is further iterated in this exhibition where he uses the holy Hebrew letters in a film sequence. It is a wonderful meditation of the form of the letters, as each such letter is a code that reveals a certain energetic frequency, vibrating and shimmering. His style, mirrored in the series of paintings, is a kind of “nervous lens,” intentionally shaking, coupled with an understanding of the craft that recalls early black and white film, as he incorporates blotches and splotches on the surface screen that transmute into abstract configurations and a kind of “black fire,” burn markings and the like.
In the same way that physicists speak of multidimensions within time-space and even multi-universes, so too Lederberg’s film meditation invokes a deeply altered and higher state of consciousness, levels beyond the common, daily stream of consciousness. Indeed, is arts vocation not precisely the uplifting of consciousness?
Lederberg’s art is intensely visual (even his film is without sound) and shows a clear concern for light, if not in the midst of darkness, for exile must perforce precede redemption; pleasure cannot be without pain.
The Art Shelter Gallery is in the heart of a religious neighborhood in Jerusalem. Noa Cohn’s vision is to create a bridge between all strata of Israeli society through art, and in particular, give voice to those who use art as a channel of spiritual processes in order to manifest and communicate a way beyond a restricted modality.
The exhibition runs until July 25. The gallery is located at Yehuda HaMaccabi St 7, Jerusalem. For more information, call 058-500-1019 or visit www.artsheltergallery.com.
DOV LEDERBERG and his paintings at the Art Shelter Gallery in Jerusalem.