04.29 2009

The Moth, the Flame the Returning Comet, & the Golem

The Moth, the Flame the Returning Comet, & the Golem, a new exhibition featuring the work of Derek Weisberg and Matt Rebholz, opens at Space 1026 on First Friday, May 1, 7-10pm, at 1026 Arch Street in Philadelphia.

Through clay and ink Derek Weisberg and Matt Rebholz reflect on mortality and ethics, both artists pulling from traditional Jewish themes.

Matt Rebholz’s series of etchings are a loose reimaginging of the Gustav Meyrink novel Der Golem. The novel’s title character, based upon the clay automaton of Jewish folklore, wanders the streets of a corrupt and ruined city, blissfully unaware that he is a malfunctioning robot and not truly a man.

Similarly, Rebholz’s works are grotesque tableaux populated by a cast of damaged characters occupying a polluted and uneasy dreamscape – a fairytale in which deranged actors struggle to find their role in a stage play they do not quite understand.These elements conspire to form a series of intimate, allegorical vignettes pregnant with obscenity and metaphor. Within this environment, the Golem serves as a metaphor for humanity adrift in an absurdly dystopian world. The progression of the etchings reflects the artist’s evolving beliefs about contemporary society and the manifestations of consumption, ingestion, greed and expulsion within it.

Derek Weisberg creates emotional and psychological self-portraits attempting to reconcile a secular worldview with religious tradition. The artists explores themes of death and spirituality as a means to overcome personal loss.

Weisberg finds parallels between the act of making art to prolong the memory or metaphysical existence of lost loved ones, and the traditional Jewish belief that the actions of the living affect the voyage the departed soul takes through the afterlife.

Weisberg seeks a greater understanding of himself by using the creative process to explore ideas that can be uncomfortable and unfamiliar, and hopes to provoke similar self-discovery in his viewers. At its core, Weisberg’s works reflect a humanist ideology: searching for truth and universal morality based on the commonality of death as part the human condition.

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