Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Buried Truths


My trip planning progresses with most of my hotels booked and transportation in Eastern Europe yet to be determined. In the process of planning this trip, I've connected with a 15 year old girl who lives in Radom. She had reached out to people through the Family Finder on Jewishgen.org as she was writing a paper on the Jews of Radom. I shared some information with her and advised her that I was planning a trip to that area. She has kindly invited us to come to their home for dinner. That should add an interesting personal experience to our travels.

I returned to the studio yesterday where I finished a painting that has been challenging, but which I am pleased with now. It is called "Buried Truths" and is based on an image derived from the book " Diary 1941-43 by the journalist Kazimierz Sakowicz. Sakowicz lived near the forest where he witnessed and documented the murders of the Jews of Vilnius. Each day he buried what he wrote in a jar in the forest. In his book he writes of how local Lithuanians performed the murders. After the war these pages began to surface in archives until Dr. Rachel Margolis got access to them and was able to piece them together for the first publishing in Polish. The publication of the book was edited by Yitzhak Arad, Yad Vashem Chairman emeritus. Interestingly the Lithuanian government filed charges against Arad for "war crimes" against Lithuanians and sought Dr. Margolis for questioning. Obviously not too comfortable with what these pages told. Hence the title "Buried Truths".

I found the image of bottles buried in the forest to be an interesting one, but found it challenging to paint. There are no reflections on bottles that are underground so I had to figure out how to suggest bottles and build a sense of layering that conveyed something hidden. I wanted a few bottles near the top to be sprouting pages as if they were plants. I relied on medium to build up the form of the bottles and to create layering. I find that I am departing from my more figurative work to work more semi-abstractly out of my imagination.

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