October 07

Karl Marx

Abshalom Jac Lahav

Born in Israel, Abshalom Jac Lahav received a BA in Psychology from Wesleyan University, and studied painting at the SVA and Cooper Union. Lahav is a painter of the unconscious whose storybook paintings explore depth psychology, archetypes and alchemy. His paintings tell a narrative of the collective unconscious, dealing with the ambiguity of the past, present and future. The figures live in a world of fictitious history, current events and psychological archetype. The content is often political and historical, dealing with issues of war and religion. These serious issues are presented to the viewer as dreamlike storybook images, reminding us of both the fragility and the playfulness that can take place in times of apocalyptic horror.

Lahav’s most recent body of work is a portrait of 35 famous Jews painted with oil on canvas, each painting measuring 2’ x 2’. All portraits are displayed together in an evenly spaced rectangular grid. As well as Marx, the portraits include Anne Frank, Alan Greenspan, Noam Chomsky, Franz Kafka, Vidal Sassoon and Elvis (who had four generations of maternal Jewish decent).

Lahav perceives this series as continuing a tradition and history of portrait painting, while questioning the nature of the historical portrait. Most notably, the work echoes Gerhard Richter’s 48 Portraits series, which presented a line-up of famous white western men in his typical dead-pan, gray-scaled, blurry photo-realist style. The aesthetic of the Richter portraits is austere, uniform, and dehumanized. Lahav’s Jewish portraits play off this particularly German intellectual identity, making a cultural 180 degree turn to a celebration of painting, color, and the humanity of mark making. The paintings reject bland aesthetics with a manner that recalls the Nabis.

The portraits of two Jewish artists are placed in the middle of the series; in the center of the grid we find Marc Chagall, famous for a quintessential Jewish style, while next to him sits Frida Kahlo, who's Jewish roots were a mere footnote.

More cover art:

Robin Ross, Blue During Blues

Susan Dee, How Deep is the Ocean

Evi Tchernikhovski, Moving Clouds

Ezra Sarajinsky, Smyrna Icon

Bara Sapir, Taxi

Xavier Nuez, Alleys & Fire Escapes, no. 50 - "Deliverance"

Marni Horwitz, Three Brothers, Christmas 2001

Jeremy Sparig, Alphabet City after Snow Storm

Jerry and Orrin Zucker, The Strange Trip

Nick Fox-Gieg, The Story of Enoch

Jack Feldstein, The Loser Who Won

Hilla Lulu Lin, Rising of the Sunset

Loren Ellis, The World Cares

Andy Alpern, Fisherman

Jenny Krasner, Power Play X

Zohar Nir-Amitin, unexisted things exist in my head

Ahron Weiner, Ad Infinitum #167

Melissa Shiff, The Medium is the Matzo

Lilian Broca, Queen Esther

Doug Fogelson, Deluge

Peter Azrak, untitled

Art. Lebedev, New Candles

Ron Pokrasso, Altered Tune With A Connection To St. Johns Place

Anonymous, Shofar Kid

Gene Feldman, Color Test

Patricia Albouhair-Taieb, Thou Shalt Not Take the Name of the Lord in Vain

Mina Dareshet, Ocean

Mindy Stricke, Self-portrait

Jesse Mintz-Roth, untitled

Lynne Marie, Movement

Bill Bragg, Defending the Post

Jay Michaelson, Nighttime road

Allyson Grey, Magic Square

Shirah Rachel Apple, Alef 2

David Katz, The Evil Bush Administration

Lauren Curtis, Flora meets Arcadia

John Hall, Untitled

Pamela Yates, Summer Sleeping

Paul Mindell, Greens, Jeans, and InBetweens

Jay Michaelson, Mayflowers

Bara Sapir, untitled

Bara Sapir, untitled

Jay Michaelson, Ice Tree

Jay Michaelson, untitled

Jay Michaelson, Eldorado Chanukah

Jose Campos, III, untitled

Jay Michaelson, Shofar Kitsch

Mica Scalin, Plates

Mica Scalin, Untitled

Jay Michaelson, Go in Peace

Mica Scalin, Hope

Mica Scalin, Plague Cookies

Jay Michaelson, The Park in Winter