David Wolk - Fine Artist

David Wolk

Bet Shemesh, Israel - Israel

 
 
 

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David Wolk

Bet Shemesh, Israel - Israel

David Wolk - Fine Artist

Member Since:

December 28th, 2009

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About David Wolk

David Baruch Wolk was born and raised in America. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in Fine Arts from Amherst College in 1981 and continued onto various post-graduate art programs and schools including Queens College, the New York Studio School, and Yale University, winning several scholarships, honors, praise and encouragement. Building upon a solid classical foundation in drawing and painting,his work began to become more abstract and personal as he focoused all his energies upon developing his artistic response to the contemporary world. In 1986 he moved to Israel where he began studying and practicing Torah. He married, raised a family, and immersed himself in Talmud, and became a scribe specializing in very high-quality tefillin parchments. In 2006 he returned to the art studio emerging with the works that he now presents to the public. This unique work has been highly acclaimed by critics. He also has written extensively upon the subject of Torah and art, to explain the significance and meaning of his work. His website (www.davidbwolk.com) contains additional information and samples of his work.


My initial impetus to become an artist emanated from the cognition that the creation of art-pieces held the potential for expressing very deep and primary truths about a person in particular and man in general; that, paradoxically, although art embraces the very most superficial aspects of our reality, the external appearance of the world, nevertheless, it holds seemingly unlimited potential for expressing seemingly endless depths of truth. I grew to learn that the ability to exploit this potential was tied up with the artist's desire and willingness to exploit the pure components of his trade alone, namely: line, tone and color, and to wean himself of his desire to relate to the world through his pictures in conventional and superficial ways. Thus the artist must involve himself of developing his own personal language in form and color to express the extent to which he is able to reach into the truths of his being, which are only in the depths and only found with much labor.

My art-work is all about inner life. My inspiration is the Torah and my work is avodat hamussar and avodat hachassidus. Thus my works are “Compositions”—because their main structure is my grappling with organizing my spiritual life. It is true that I find “nature” extraordinarily beautiful and inspiring. But I do not paint external realities. I appreciate a beautiful painting of nature and formerly strived to paint beautiful pictures from “life”. It is very challenging and I was far from successful. It is not that I “conquered” naturalism and went on to abstraction. I proceeded to abstraction because I saw that the organization of the picture was more essentially the issue of painting; that to create a coherent vivid image from “imagination” was a much greater and more profound task than naturalistic painting.
Entrance into the realm of the imagination, the expression of pure feeling and intuition, can be likened to setting sail in a great ocean. One can only successfully navigate the waters with a great ship. This ship is called “Da'as”--understanding or knowledge [Torah]. As I had decided to 'go out to sea', to reach the distance shore towards which artists strive, I was made vitally aware of the insufficiency of my boat. Hashem Yisborach, in His great kindness, led me to His Torah. Twenty years later I saw that I was ready to set sail.

I produce paintings and drawings which have as their end, not aesthetic enjoyment, rather spiritual illumination. They are works produced with the intention of elucidating the life of what I strive to be; an eved Hashem, a servant of (G-d) [The Holy One, Blessed is He].
I consider my choice of the pursuit of art as part of my larger search for my true purpose in life, with the underlying belief that nothing is accidental in the nature of my existence and in the form of my life; and to search out and realize the secrets of my existence--this is my task and measure of all my success. The search for expression of inner truth in art-making led me discover the Eternal, the Holy Torah, and my true obligations as a human; this in turn led me to attempt to express these truths in artworks.

The inner content of the pictures represents musing upon the subject that is pictured in words, musings that have as their common base—‘Torah thought that are more appropriately expressed in pictorial form than in words’. At a simple level the pictures are a means of making available to a wide public divrei Torah that are otherwise privy to those who have merited to sit in the Bais HaMedrash day and night. And if they are teachings that are already well known to all, they are a means of communicating the depths of the matter. My pictures represent a process of התבוננות, a careful consideration of Torah concepts—in particular the concepts that are spelled out in the particular picture. Thus the ‘abstraction’ is a portrayal of a personal grappling with or response to the inner essence of the saying. In summation my pictures are attempts to render through the inherent means and rules of pictorial expression, a language discovered and developed by artists from ancient times until our day, a deep understanding of the subject portrayed.
At a deeper level—behold the world is created from the Torah and through the letters of the Torah. In the words of our Sages of blessed memory: the Torah is the blueprint of the universe. Thus being so it only stands to reason that the pictorial form and structures whose rules and secrets the great artists through history have toiled to uncover, is in itself an emanation of Torah. Indeed the entire creation receives its life, its existence from the Torah. Thus I wish to dispel the thought that there is an essential disparity between artistic form, in particular “modern” artistic form, and Torah content. Rather there is parity and harmony between them. The prerequisite condition for successfully producing art which is Torah is purely the artist’s sincere desire to search out and explicate truth, and not to let the means, that is, pictorial form¸ inherent in which is deception and illusion, dominate the content; rather the opposite: the content which is truth must dominate and subjugate the form to its goals.



Nurit Bank, curator of the Wolfson Museum of Jewish art, Hechal Shlomo, Jerusalem, writes the following:

'I have been following, for many years now, the creative development of artist David B. Wolk.
Wolk, who pursued his artistic training at the finest contemporary art schools in New York, combines artistic skill with innovative conceptual choices. While his artworks are founded on formal abstraction, it is the text that stands at their core. Thus is a new artistic genre created – one which may be described as Conceptual Abstraction.
The texts selected by the artist are drawn from the classical Jewish sources, spanning ancient Talmudic texts through seventeenth-century Kabbalistic citations, to contemporary Jewish poetry, and even passages from the writings of recent sages. Particularly moving is his work, “The Main Request of the Wife”, based on a letter composed by one of the past century’s greatest rabbis.
The textual selection is an integral part of the artwork, inspiring the choice of palette and the formal composition.
Wolk’s works draw the viewer into active observation and participation in the creative process. One first engages in the decipherment of the written text, which immediately evokes emotions, sensations, and a wide range of thoughts and associations. The viewer is then expected to partake in the interpretative process – challenged to find the connection between the work’s verbal content and its formal structure, seeking its relevance to his own life.
The enthralled viewer examines Wolk’s works over and over again, seeing them anew each time; an additional layer of meaning is uncovered with each observation, resonating in the viewer’s consciousness and affecting him emotionally for a long time afterwards. The cognitive process instigated by Wolk’s work ensures that he is no longer the same person he was before encountering it.
Wolk’s work contains immense potential for bridging the different sectors that constitute Israeli society and initiating dialogue between them – due to the integration of contemporary, post-modernist artistic tenets, on the one hand, and their rich Jewish content, based on ancient mystical sources, on the other.
I strongly recommend that the artist David B. Wolk receive every assistance and opportunity to further his artistic development.'

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daas

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commissioned works

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