Posts

Sharon Siskin

1) "Invisible", mirror, wood, plexi-glass, acrylic paint , gold leaf, found eye glasses, magnifying glass, metal wire, paper and cotton fabric, 25" x 40" x 5", 1998. A piece about experiencing, often unintentional, and always uninformed anti-Semitism in everyday American … Read More

By / September 10, 2007

1) "Invisible", mirror, wood, plexi-glass, acrylic paint , gold leaf, found eye glasses, magnifying glass, metal wire, paper and cotton fabric, 25" x 40" x 5", 1998. A piece about experiencing, often unintentional, and always uninformed anti-Semitism in everyday American language and culture. The text etched into the mirrors reveals the kaddish in hebrew text, (the Jewish prayer for the dead.)The text etched into the plexi-glass and mirror reads as follows: J/E/W/but you/don’t look/like a (from a series addressing anti-Semitism)

2)"Colloquialism", mirror, wood, red plexi-glass, gold leaf, found plastic letters, metal wire and ashes, 72" x 38" x 3", 2001. A piece about racial and religious intolerance inherent in language. The etched word in the mirror reveals the U.S. dollar bills beneath. The etched red plexi-glass and mirror reads as follows: J E W / them/ dow
(from a series addressing anti-Semitism)

anti-Semitism
This work comes from experiencing what it feels like to be “the other”, outside of the American cultural “norm”. It explores instances of Anti-Semitism inherent in the language of our contemporary culture.

3) "In the manner of a man: Forbidden Phylactery with Bag", rubber, wooden child’s blocks, waxed linen, dimensions variable, 2001. (from a series entitle Farvos (for what?or why?) questioning the patriarchy of orthodoxy. )
farvos
Farvos is a Yiddish word that literally means “for what” or simply asks why. Each of the pieces in this body of work begins with the phrase “In the manner of a man”. The phrase is a reference to the case of a Russian woman Rabbi in the early part of the 19th century who was stopped by Rabbinical authorities for “acting in the manner of a man.” They were addressing the practice of excluding women from specific Jewish rituals, such as the wrapping of the tefilin (phylacteries) on one’s body. In this work I use sheets of black rubber. This material is a metaphor for my disconnection from the actual objects that inspired these pieces, both as a non-observant Jew and as a woman. The black rubber speaks to me of the forbidden, in a psychosexual context. It seemed an appropriate medium for exploring my relationship to these objects traditionally-worn exclusively on the bodies of observant Jewish men.

4) "Comfort", matzoh, found paper book, text, plastic box, cotton thread, on wood, 18"x 16"x 4", 1995. A piece about my experience as a cultural/culinary Jew. (from an installation called "Comfort and Wondering")

comfort and wandering
Comfort and Wandering is an installation that was originally created for the San Francisco Jewish Museum. In the original installation I divided the square room into two sections. One area was painted a warm yellowish white and labeled with the word “comfort” and the other area was painted a cool blue-gray white and labeled with the word “wandering”. On the “wandering” side I hung objects that were made from the 1950’s American convenience foods, which I had grown up eating at home at my parents’ house. On the “comfort” side of the gallery I tried to evoke the smells of my Bubbie and Zaide’s home by making objects that were made from the homemade foods in their Yiddish cultural home. This work is my own personal inquiry, drawing from the memories of my experience growing up informed by this bicultural heritage.

www.sharonsiskin.org