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Dreams & Visions

Jacob & Sons
Unity within Diversity

May 20-June 19, 2014
Mandel JCC
Cleveland, OH USA
part of Cleveland Jewish Arts and Culture Lab

Jacob and Sons E-mail

Jacob & Sons

Wood, Acrylic.  16"x17"
Cleveland Jewish Arts and Culture Lab
Mandel JCC
Cleveland, OH USA 
Spring 2014

Jacob & Sons is one of three pieces in the exhibition Inside/Outside.  Screen prints will be available soon.  Sign up for the mail list (on the left) or like RachelGordonArt on Facebook to get updates!

Sheep and shepherds are a central theme in Judaism.  The psalms are full of them; the great leaders of the Bible (King David, Moses, etc) were shepherds; the Bible calls for 2 daily sacrifices of sheep, today replaced by daily prayer and the idea that it is through patience and daily work on ourselves and our connection to God that we are gifted with amazing moments.

Some of the inspiration for this piece comes from the story of our patriarch Jacob who falls in love with Rachel and works 7 years for her hand in marriage as a shepherd for her father Lavan - only to find out the next morning that he had been tricked and married her sister Leah instead.  His escape from Lavan's household was made possible by building his flock of sheep.  Lavan wanted only sheep with no markings and offered those with stripes and spots to Jacob as wages. God and angels come to Jacob in his dreams - God tells him that He will take care of him and he will be father to many and an angel instructs him on breeding sheep with markings. The flock grows and he, his wives, and his children are able to leave.  Each of the 12 tribes that came from Jacob were unique while also part of the whole. In Lavan's eyes the markings rendered them flawed while in Jacob's eyes they were the key to an amazing future for the Jewish people.

I am fascinated by the interplay of outer appearance and inner self - our exterior as a reflection of our interior and vice versa - how much we judge and make assumptions based on appearance and the dream of reaching unity in the diversity.  I'm also all about fun and color and laughing - and the sheep and I have had a great time together.  Are the sheep putting on outfits or are the markings radiating from their core?

Waves of Bottles E-mail

Waves of Bottles
רוח ים  Ruach Yam - Sea Breeze Festival
Artist colony on the beach
Bat Yam, Israel August 2011

Using 303 discarded Coca-Cola bottles and a variety of bottle caps, I created a 3d interpretation of the festival's wave logo.

The idea of the artist colony was for groups of artists to come together for a week at a time to create art on the beach primarily using discarded materials.  The festival had 6 different groups of artists and students each spending a week making art.  I had participated in the first week as part of a collaborative installation entitled 'to the Sea in Ships' with Joseph Connelly as Gordon & Gordon Art.

The festival provided materials - including thousands of discarded bottles.  There were so many bottles that I was able to make the installation entirely from Coca-Cola bottles.  Most of the bottles didn't have caps, but luckily I had been collecting them from the streets of Jerusalem where they were quite plentiful.  There was an extra benefit to having collected the caps in that I had a variety of colors and sizes and was able to create a design of color inside the installation.

It took me 2 full days to cut up all of the bottles.  A lot of them had glue on them from a previous art project.  Then I made a frame for two sides of the installation using wood from an old packing crate.  I painted it a fun beach color.  I tried a few different things to attach the pieces together and finally settled on cut up bottles screwed into both sides of each board.  It worked well, especially once I settled the frame into the sand and there wasn't much torque involved.  I loved the idea of using the bottles for this.

Installing the waves took about 8 hours.  Each wave is 1 meter in diameter.  I had a piece of string that I used to mark the half-circles - making one mark for the outer wave and one mark for the inner wave.  The top of the bottles made the outer wave, the bottom half of the bottles made the middle wave, and the caps made the inner wave.  Since the winds could be pretty strong, I pushed the bottles into the sand about 6cm.

The installation might have gone a bit quicker, except that there was a big concert on the beach that night and as I was installing the piece there were throngs of adults and children who were coming through the area.  The kids thought it looked like a lot of fun and wanted to participate.  Some really got in on the idea of finding bottle caps around the beach and bringing them to me - which was totally great.

I was really interested in how the light would play off of the bottles as the sun changed position and I wasn't disappointed.  The shadows changed throughout the day and the colors also.  Sometimes it was blinding to look at the bottles and all you could do was look at the caps.  Other times the bottles commanded the attention and you had to look hard to see the caps.



Meet the Sheep

Click here to see more about the sheep!