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Transformations - A Collaboration Between Bill Aron and Victor Raphael

The Heavens Spread Out Like a Prayer Shawl; Works by Victor Raphael at the Oregon Jewish Museum.

Transformations–A Collaboration Between Bill Aron and Victor Raphael
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(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Transformations–A Collaboration Between Bill Aron and Victor Raphael is a wonderfully inventive set of artworks that takes familiar landscapes in the United States and Israel and creates something completely new with them. Bill Aron is a photographer who focuses on Jewish communities. Victor Raphael works with an eclectic range of media, from the ancient medium of gold leafing to digital art. Their work together involves Raphael's subtle use of leafing as a way to alter Aron's photographs.

Raphael brings out entirely new dimensions of Aron's pictures by applying gold, copper and silver leaf over certain areas of the photographs, and building up the color saturation of selected elements.

Their collaboration opens the photographs up to new interpretations and illuminates Jewish life in a unique way. To create the pieces in the exhibit, these longtime friends revisited Aron's body of work spanning his prolific forty-year career. Together they selected photographs taken in Israel, New York, Los Angeles, and Mississippi. Raphael then applied metal and gold leaf to select areas of the prints'surfaces.

As a result of Raphael's enhancements, the people, shadows, walls, and windows captured in Aron's photographs are infused with light.  Generous support of the exhibit provided by the Regional Arts and Culture Council

This process earned Raphael critical acclaim in his solo body of work, The Heavens Spread Out Like a Prayer Shawl where he applies metal-leaf to a series of Polaroid images of NASA footage of outer space. Twelve Poloroids from this series will be on view. He began the process by creating a digital movie from NASA images. He  then took Polaroid shots of the movie and added the enhancements of gold and metal leaf to the surface of the Polaroids. The digital movie will accompany Raphael’s images. The artist applies sophisticated technology to images of stars, novas, and galaxies to produce work at the intersection of the scientific and the spiritual. Light, space and time have been continual themes in Raphael’s work, which is inspired by the study of the Jewish mystical tradition of Kaballah.

Exhibition Events:

Artists' Reception and Talk with Victor Raphael and Bill Aron

Wednesday, June 1 at 7:00pm

Transformations and The Heavens Spread Out Like a Prayer Shawl

Exhibitions Opening Reception

1st Thurday, June 2   5:00-8:00 pm

About Bill Aron

Bill Aron is perhaps best known for his photographs of Jewish communities around the world. His art has been exhibited in major museums and galleries throughout the United States, Europe, and Israel. Many of his photographs are in public and private collections, including: Museum of Modern Art, International Center for Photography, The Jewish Museum (New York), Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Mississippi Museum of Art, Skirball Cultural Center, National Museum of American Jewish History, The Israel Museum (Jerusalem), and Beit Hatfutsot: The Museum of the Jewish People (Tel Aviv).

Aron’s first book, From The Corners of the Earth: Contemporary Photographs of the Jewish World (Jewish Publication Society, 1986), chronicles the Jewish communities of the former Soviet Union, Cuba, Jerusalem, New York, and Los Angeles; it includes an introduction by Chaim Potok. The second volume of his work, Shalom Y’all: Images of Jewish Life in the American South (Algonquin Books, 2002), formed the basis for the exhibition of the same name organized by the Skirball Cultural Center; it includes a foreword by Alfred Uhry. In 2005, Aron finished a project entitled Holocaust Survivors: The Indestructible Spirit, featuring 100 photographs of Holocaust survivors in southern California. An exhibition and book are in preparation. Aron’s current project, Cancer’s Silver Lining, just completed, includes interviews and dynamic portraits of  100 cancer survivors whose diagnosis has turned into a positive force in their lives.

About Victor Raphael

Victor Raphael works in a range of media—including painting, photography, digital art, printmaking, and video—and has a long history of combining traditional media with contemporary electronic technologies. Raphael has applied gold and metal leaf to the surfaces of photographs for over thirty years. Through his work, Raphael explores the broad themes of time and space through his investigations of nature, deep space, art history, spirituality, and the supernatural. In his own words, he is “interested in the big questions and in the smallest detail that reveals something divine.”

Raphael’s work is in many collections, including: Bibliothèque Nationale de France,Huan Tie Times Art Museum (Beijing), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Sol LeWitt Collection, Polaroid Collection, Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, the Skirball Cultural Center, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, USC Fisher Museum of Art, and Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, Pepperdine University.

In 1996, Raphael’s work was included in the traveling exhibition Polaroid 50: Art and Technology as one of the fifty best examples of Polaroid photography. In the fall of 2005, he became the first artist-in-residence at Hebrew Union College and created a permanent installation in a classroom, Nachamu, Nachamu: The Heavens Spread Out Like A Prayer Shawl. Last year, USC Fisher Museum of Art presented a thirty-year survey of Raphael’s work.

Raphael collaborates with artists regularly. Currently he is working with Clayton Spada on a digital print project exploring the intersection of science, nature, and philosophy, and with David Jordan Williams to create video and digital prints of extraordinary encounters with the unknown.Raphael continues to collaborate with computer pioneer Jean-Pierre Hebert.

Oregon Jewish Museum

1953 NW Kearney Street, Portland, OR 97209

Ph: 503-226-3600

Exhibition Hours beginning June 2011:

Tuesday-Thursday 10:30am – 4:00pm

Friday: 10:30am – 3:00pm

Saturday & Sunday: 12:00pm – 4:00pm

Museum Admission:

General Public: $6

Students and Seniors 62+: $4

Children under 12: Free

OJM Members: Free

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