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Archive for September, 2009

24th Sep 2009

Song of Songs (The Kutchers) — Essence of Social Media Portrait

Presenting and introducing the first Essence of Social Media Portraits in playlet tweet style featuring Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher in Song of Songs (The Kutchers).

Song of Songs is the Bible’s love song. While it has deep religious and spiritual meaning, on the surface it can be understood as romantic and even erotic poetry.

Song of Songs is attributed to Solomon, with religious scholars differing whether it was indeed written by Solomon or for him, much of the descriptions and references fit that time.

The portraits of Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore Kutcher actually began with the idea for the artwork pictured here, Song of Songs (The Kutchers)

In my Essence Portrait series artworks are named after their essence: their strokes, while the manifestation from those strokes- the name of the person imaged by the portrait — is in parenthesizes in the title. An example of this concept using simple chemistry would be: H2O (Water) . However, my strokes are the original words (Torah font letters- phonic, binary, alphanumeric symbols) from the Bible that symbolize the strings of elementary physics. Unlike elements, the strings (and words of God, such as, “Let there be light”, that create the physical universe are so small they are scientifically understood as energy or pre-matter.

Their basic portraits of Ashton and Demi Moore Kutcher have appeared in recent previously blogs, where images some of the colorful variations I am creating of them are presented. These images also appear in a private video about the Essence Portraits , which in time will be changed a bit, added to, and become public.

But from the first stroke, we were always heading to dual portrait about the Song of Songs . These basic Essence Portraits of both Ashton and Demi Moore Kutcher are created using the original Torah font letters from Song of Songs for all of the strokes.

Song of Songs (The Kutchers), 2009, by Judy Rey Wasserman

In both Jewish and Christian traditions and theologies the Song of Songs also refers to the union of The Divine (please substitute your most meaningful name for my term “The Divine”) and humankind (or followers/observant people).

The heavenly bridegroom takes his beloved earthly bride in a sacred union. Their relationship is one of lovers, mutual, interactive and even exclusive.

Like Adam in the Bible, Ashton’s was created first and Demi’s Essence Portrait followed. Partially this was due to Demi Moore Kutcher’s fabulous hair, which I knew would take a long time to create tiny letter upon letter. I spent a lot of time lost in both the beauty of the text and the lovely Mrs. Kutcher.

Since the Kutchers are actors, and used to wearing make-up that alters their appearance, I used some of the words and texts a bit like make up to create their Essence Portraits. This is the first time I have done this.

The Hebrew of Song of Songs 7:11 is fairly visible in the left hand side of the image of Demi Moore Kutcher. The English translation from the KJV is; “I am my beloved’s and his desire is toward me”. Her necklace is a repeated chain of four letters that mean “the beloved”.

In both portraits a form of the word beloved is found just under the lower lip, where a shadow normally appears, as if each person had just whispered an endearment of the other.

There is art history and significance in this artwork, which might go unrecognized by a casual observer.

First, the work resembles a Social Media message, such as a tweet. However a tweet is a form of common social interaction, so while each portrait can stand alone, here they are combined into one image.

As an artist I find it wonderfully expressive of the “eternal dance” of lovers in that each is separate and apart—an individual in a unique Tweet of space. Yet these can join together to form a whole that is not only meaningful for them, the lovers, but for the onlookers, as we represent society.

The Tweet proportions were purposefully altered to show more of the Essence Portraits—the faces—and less length of the short message.

The work combines Post Conceptual Art, specifically the branch of UnGraven Image with Conceptual art, especially word art with a kind of realism as Social Media messages are real visual things.

Since the Renaissance, Western artists have placed participants in biblical or mythological scenes within the physical context and realities of their own times. Giotto, Fra Angelico, Da Vinci, Rembrandt painted scenes from the Bible taking place in the architectural surroundings by people wearing the fashion of their times. They even used images of people who were well known at the time, often patrons, in some of the scenes, rather than models.

While on one level the Song of Songs (Kutcher) artwork is a present day Essence Portrait of two real people, on another significant level these noted actors are portraying the eternal and sacred lovers from Song of Songs. It is biblical scene in our contemporary setting of social media.

The @Names in the portrait messages do not use the names the Kutchers use on Twitter since neither actually tweeted the message and this clarifies that it is an artwork not a screenshot. However, I came close to the font colors each uses on their Twitter Profile page for the @Names.

While a thin black band separates the two “tweets” they two are surrounded by a thin red “frame” That frame is a part of the united portrait of the couple.

Both Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore Kutcher wear the red string from the Kabbalah center on their left wrists. The idea is that the left hand is receptive hand while the right is the action and giving hand. The red string’s purpose is to protect against evil from outside influences coming into one’s life.

Here I use the red “frame” the way I use gold frames of prayer in the Genesis: Sunset-Sunrise series, as both a kind of protection but also as a reminder and as a communication reaching out to the universe. That red string around a wrist also reminds the wearer to avoid letting in any bad influences: to be careful where one goes, what one sees and does—ideas found in another Biblical book attributed to Solomon: Proverbs.

The red band has another visual Biblical reference: the red blood of the lamb covering the doorposts of the Israelites during their first Passover Seder. Like a left hand, that door was an entrance where others could enter. So my red frame symbolizes a home that safely encircles the lovers.

Christians also have a similar custom that stems from the basic understanding. They often pray for protection asking for the blood of Jesus over their homes, loved ones and themselves.

The thin band of red can also be understood as the remnant of background of a Profile page screenshot, which was cropped

It is especially fitting for the Kutchers to be artistically portrayed in social media setting as they are effectively using it beyond entertainment or socializing to help others and create social change..

Ashton Kutcher challenged CNN, and their representative Larry King to see who could be the first to be followed by one million people. @aplusk‘s idea was the winner would give $10, 000 to buy mosquito nets to help end malaria. The ensuing media coverage of the contest raised awareness for eradicating malaria, which is possible. Ashton Kutcher who was the underdog, creatively used UStream to gain a last hour rally becoming the first to have a million followers last spring – but everyone involved really won.

Next, in a conversation that actually began in the Twitter stream Demi Moore was involved in helping a person expressing thoughts of suicide obtain much needed professional help. While @mrskutcher certainly did the right thing, and everything turned out well, becoming publicly involved in the stream was a risky move.

The Kutchers continue top speak out about causes and work for charities through social media. They have already won one award for this, and will no doubt be honored with others.

Of course, the Kutchers also use Twitter and social media to tantalize followers and fans with snippets of their relationship. They post photos of each other, which are often playful. They tweet to and about each other. Like the onlookers in the Song of Songs , we are their witnesses, and better off for it.

This blog was posted a few hours before the Kutchers’ wedding anniversary on September 24, 2009 with prayers and well wishes for their health, happiness and continued success, individually and as a couple.

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The main purpose of the Essence Portrait series is to help us learn to see the Divine in ourselves and others. This is accomplished by more than understanding the concept. By looking at Essence Portraits created with tiny strokes that are the words of The Divine our brains gain much needed visual memories so that it uses to decipher impressions of light into recognizable, usable images. Thus these images actually physically encourage our brains to perceive in a new way.

Essence Portraits of celebrities, especially actors that we have identified with as characters in films, TV and plays further encourages the ability to see The Divine essence in others, and then in ourselves. [For more on the theory of Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art theory, and how it is a vision we can all share, go to ungravenimage.com. Play the top You Tube video,”Painting with the Big Bang of Genesis”. Enjoy the art and information found via the many tabs on the menu. Plus, download the free art manifesto booklet]
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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art. Download a free copy click: Manifesto of Post Conceptual Art– A Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in its Stroke.

Check out the limited and open edition prints in the estore.
Follow her on Twitter at @judyrey .]

Posted by Posted by judyrey under Filed under Art & Inspiration, Art Theory and Show Reviews, Tolerance, Freedom & Peace Comments No Comments »

22nd Sep 2009

Tolerance Precedes Freedom then Peace

The freest nations are the most tolerant nations. The least free nations are the least tolerant, and often church and state are one and the same.

Historically, where there is tolerance freedom will grow and prosper. Freedom does not create tolerance although free people can and do create and strengthen laws to promote tolerance.

By the time the Continental Congress met to create a government for the new United States of America , tolerance had been the practice in the colonies for more that 100 years.

While certainly more tolerance would develop, the colonies offered the most tolerance of any European based nation, although certain counties, such as Yorkshire were also known for their tolerance.

Although tolerance can and is often legislated and upheld by governmental authorities, the kind of tolerance that breeds freedom is attitudinal.

Tolerance is respectful of the rights of others to worship or not as they see fit, even though I think they hold crazy or at least mistaken ideas to be true. In a friendly way, we agree to disagree and support each others right to be “wrong”.

Tolerance is not passive, it means support for another’s right to be mistaken about God. True tolerance sees beyond the surface of theology to the heart of the other person’s spirit or soul.

Lady Liberty by Judy Rey Wasserman

Obviously, not everything that is claimed to be a religious practice will be tolerated by a society. We know human sacrifice was practiced by some religions, yet not state in the free world will allow that practice today as the job of government is to protect its citizens.

For every current major religion we can find places and periods where people who practice the path or religion were tolerant as well as others when they were or are not.

While the constitution of the United States granted religious freedom to all, in many states this was not fully upheld. Not coincidentally the other freedoms of their citizens also were curtailed.

A free market economy and trade is prospers with religious tolerance. If a nation’s citizens and government is wary of any other country that does not agree religiously trade is impeded. Instinctively we want little to do with our enemies, those we believe are against us or could destroy what we hold dear.

In countries where “church” and state there is little freedom, even if supposedly free elections are held; since, what one is to believe is already rigorously limited. Any government that legislates or enforces religious participation and adherence—or atheism, as Communist countries have done, has little faith in its people to recognize what is good and true. This opens the door to dictatorships that will enforce the “correct” religious beliefs upon the people—usually for the betterment of the enforcers.

Tweet Heard ‘Round the World 1,  by Judy Rey Wasserman

The recent fraudulent Iranian election is an example of a religious dictatorship is a good example of a religious leadership enforcing a non tolerant regime to protect religious beliefs, not the people. The ongoing brutality on peaceful protesters by this regime underlines that theology and consequently their own power, not the people governed is what this regime seeks to protect. Church and stare are one.

The majority of wars in modern times have been waged for religious reasons. While governments can be tricky and go to war to gain assets, people will only join in when they believe in a cause. While the world wars may not have seemed to have been waged for religious reasons, the Allies were united in a Judeo-Christian world view and morality, including Russia , which was still populated with people raised in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Tolerance precedes freedom. Freedom precedes peace.

A free people cannot have a lasting or real peace with a nation where there is not religious freedom and tolerance because by the constitution of the other nation only the religion of that nation is fit to endure. All the treaties in the world cannot change that.

As I write this it is “World Peace Day. “ We are asked to pray for peace. This is a giant step in the right direction as all peoples of all faiths are encouraged to pray for peace.

What we need is a World Tolerance Day, when all peoples of all religions pray for religious tolerance. That would send a profound and meaningful message to both governments and clergy, the two most powerful groups in humankind.

If and when the United Nations and world leaders focus on religious tolerance as a basic human right our world will be on the path to both freedom and peace. When killing someone due to their religious beliefs is no longer celebrated but abhorred universally we will have peace and freedom.

Ironically, almost every major religion has prophets who have predicted a time of world peace. Theologically we seem to agree that world peace is possible. How bad can a religion that hopes for world peace be? Perhaps from that basic understanding we can become more tolerant and usher in more freedom and peace.
* * *
Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art. Download a free copy click: Manifesto of Post Conceptual Art– A Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in its Stroke.
Check out the limited and open edition prints in the estore.
Follow her on Twitter at @judyrey .]

Posted by Posted by judyrey under Filed under Tolerance, Freedom & Peace Comments No Comments »

18th Sep 2009

Demi Moore Kutcher- Song of Songs Essence Portrait

What can I say about a woman who has helped to radically change the way we see women—and since I’m a woman, the way I see myself?

Demo Moore ‘s career has involved risky roles such as those in Indecent Proposal and G.I. Jane , films where she used her talent and beauty to challenge narrow perceptions about women’s physicality and rights.

However, her riskiest role before a camera was simply playing herself, when photographer Fran Libowitz captured her nude and seven months pregnant for the cover of Vanity Fair.

While Demi Moore’s very pregnant photo is an iconic art image today, at the time it was a career risking and iconoclastic move.

Apparently the idea was to take a stand against “anti-Hollywood, anti-glitz” attitude.

It succeeded at more than the intended purpose.

With one image Moore and Libowitz decimated attitudes and constraints that sought to hide pregnancy or at least disguise it as if it were obscene. There was nothing obscene about the very pregnant Demi Moore. Instead, she was deeply beautiful and sexy in a way glitz and glam can never achieve.

Later Moore and Libowitz collaborated on another cover for Vanity Fair . This time they turned the tables on fashion and the art world as Libowitz photographed a fashionable “canvas” that was Demi Moore’s naked body with clothes painted on it.

Demi Moore’s use of herself as a canvas inspires and even challenges me, as an artist to do likewise. Of course Essence Portraits work to reveal more than the features of the public persona because every stroke is a letter from a carefully selected Bible text in the original language and font.

Song of Songs (Demi Moore Kutcher) by Judy Rey Wasserman

Like the previous portrait of  her husband, Song of Songs (Ashton Kutcher), Demi Moore’s portrait uses the text of Song of Songs for the strokes. This will be explained in visual a blog that will be posted on September 23, 2009, which is the day before the couple’s anniversary the following day.

Song of Songs (Demi Moore: Hollywood ) is square – and meant to be or at least reference avatars. It is the first version of Song Of Songs (Demi Moore) that I created. It plays off a “ Hollywood ” background that references the sign. Only a few people are instantly recognizable as a symbol of the Hollywood goddess the way the Demi Moore is—but then Andy Warhol already created famous portraits of the others.

Song of Songs (Demi Moore: Hollywood) by Judy Rey Wasserman

Although Hollywood farms a part of Demi Moore’s background and she also represents it, in the image above she also partially obscures the gigantic sign.This is a visual reference to her career risking stands, such as thoise mentioned above to encourage the understanding of women’s real beauty and worth beyond their appearance.

The surface image of the portrait (face) is simplified, almost cartoon like and certainly slightly referencing the Warhol portraits. Yet we know that the structure of the portrait itself, the essence is those Torah font symbol-strokes, which are the words of the Bible.

Thus in the foreground, and yet underneath the glitz and glam, a meaningful, tolerant, loving and blessed essence of the human spirit is revealed. It’s easy to see the spark of The Divine in Demi Moore.

Notice that this portrait is of the young Demi, somewhere near or before the time of Ghost. This was a selfish move on my part as I do intend to create others portraits and felt it would be easier for me to move ahead in a chronological order for what I intend to create over time.

However, I am not yet ready to reveal the full picture of my plan, but the upcoming blog blog on September 23, 2009 does hint of what’s to come. I will also explain why I chose the Song of Songs for these portraits of the Kutchers and how I have used it, especially certain texts and words in both portraits. That blog will also deal with Twitter and the Kutchers, who are very much acting as a team via social media.

To discover more about Judy Rey Wasserman’s Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art theory see http://www.ungravenimage.com and be sure to play the top video and download the completely free art manifesto booklet, “A Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in it’s Strokes”

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