The Rebbe is a popular figure in Jewish folklore who is imbued with mystical powers. In these paintings Jewish mysticism and the symbolism of the Kabbalah are explored in a lighthearted way. Each painting tells the story of the mystical happenings that unexpectedly occur as the Rebbe goes about his ordinary life. The Rebbe lives in a very simple world but these mystical happenings are a part of his everyday life.
The paintings in The Rebbe Series explore everyday life in rural Eastern Europe during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Planting his garden, drawing water from his well or observing the Sabbath can all lead to great mystical experiences. These events lead to spiritual joy, which is the highest attainment of the Jewish soul. Each work is unique but all share the common theme of simple spiritual joy. He transcends dreams of earthly paradise and does not simply dream of a perfect world - he experiences one.
Some paintings show specific religious holidays while others focus on the simple life that the Rebbe leads. In a somewhat surrealistic style these paintings combine bright colors with Kabalistic symbols. The numbers 3, 7, 10, 12, 22 and 43, each with their own Kabalistic meaning, appear in the form of hands, stars, flames, etc. Most are painted in acrylic or oil but I also include drawings and watercolors in the series.
Paintings from this series have been exhibited in numerous exhibitions including Gates of Eden Gallery in Peoria, IL and Perkins Gallery in Stoughton , MA.