“The Shemot Mural and Other Paintings by Barbara Mendes”
at the Museum of the Bible in Tel Aviv, Dec.23, 2004 - Jan.7, 2005
The “Shemot” Mural is a 7ft.x12ft. oil-on-canvas featuring infinitely detailed narrative imagery of every line in each of the eleven Parashot (sections) of Sefer Shemot, the Biblical Book of Exodus. The Sefer begins with a list of the twelve sons of Jacob who sojourned in Egypt; these “names” (the word “Shemot’ means “names”) are an important element which ring the inner space of the mural. The story continues with the birth and early life of Moses, the harsh treatment in Egypt, the plagues and eventual Exodus, leading to the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. Then come a multitude of civil laws, followed by intricate instructions about the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and Priestly garments, the sin of the Golden Calf, and then the actual construction of the Mishkan and Garments. The mural is based on 300 pages of drawings, and took two years to complete. It follows the artist’s 5ft x 18 ft. “Beresheit” Mural, (showing all events in the Biblical Book of Genesis), which has been purchased for permanent display (along with the 8ft. x 6ft narrative work about Jews escaping from the Spanish Inquisition,“ Dona Gracia Mendes”) at the Boca Raton Jewish Community Center in Florida. The exhibition will include other works which may also be viewed at www.BarbaraMendes.org. These include “the Prayer of Hannah”(48”sq, oil, 2003), a narrative based on Sefer Shmuel Aleph showing Hannah, each line of her prayer, events leading to the birth of Shmuel, and forty scenes from the early life of David. See this piece on the site under “New Paintings”. While in “New Paintings”, view the Shemot mural in earlier stages by clicking on “Work-in-Progress” “Geulah”(68”sq, oil, 2002) shows life when the Messiah comes: the Third Temple stands in contemporary Jerusalem with the Kedosh Kedoshim at the center of the world, the exiles return (entire congregations dance on the wings of airplanes) and the dead return- (heros from the Bible fly in on chariots), while normal life in Israel also continues. “Shekhina Comes III” weaves imagery around the time when the artist was learning about Torah for the first time, as an adult. “Utopia” recalls an even earlier phase when the artist was first exposed to Jewish life in the early nineties. “Geulah”, “Shekhina Comes III”, and “Utopia” can be viewed in the “Gallery” at www.BarbaraMendes.org; lithographs and greeting cards featuring these and other works are available in the On-Line Store. Barbara Mendes studied art throughout her childhood, graduating from N.Y.’s High School of Music and Art in 1966. After being published in underground “comix” under the name “Willy Mendes” and beginning a career of exhibiting her monumental yet intricate paintings, she graduated from the University of California at Riverside in 1980, with high honors and Phi Beta Kappa. Ms. Mendes has shown her work in numerous solo and countless group exhibits in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Boca Raton; much of her life’s work resides in in private collections in those cities. In 1992, Ms. Mendes painted a mural at the Pinto Torah Center in Los Angeles, and discovered her rich Sephardic heritage. Her work from this point on reflects her involvment with Judaism and the Torah way of life, and reaches an audience that is knowledgable and enthusiastic about these themes. The website www.BarbaraMendes.org , and the prints, cards and books featuring Ms. Mendes’s art, have expanded the reach of her art in recent years. Completing the “Shemot” Mural was an awesome task. It seemed to the artist that only Hashem, (G*d), could have provided the energy, perserverance and miraculous sustanance necessary to first draw on paper, then draw on canvas, then fill with glorious color, such an infinitude of detailed narrative material. The exhibit at the Museum of the Bible in the Holy Land also came about quite miraculously. The Museum of the Bible is located at 16 Rothchild Blvd. at Independence Hall, in Tel Aviv. Gallery Hours are Sun.-Thurs., 9AM-1PM Museum phone: 03 517-7760. (from U.S.A.: 011 972 3 517-7760) There will be a reception for the artist at 7 PM on December 23, 2004.
For further information please contact Barbara Mendes: barbaramendes@BarbaraMendes.org, Or (in Israel): Susan Gordon: firstname.lastname@example.org Ms. Mendes can be reached at the Hotel Adiv in Tel Aviv Dec. 16- Jan. 11.