"Eve's Vocabulary: Paintings by Deborah Rosenthal 1988-1998"

Monday, May 3, 1999

March 1-July 16, 1999 
Joseph Gallery, HUC-JIR, New York

In "Eve's Vocabulary," artist Deborah Rosenthal presents 18 oil paintings in which the Biblical Eve provides the inspiration for figures that are complex sums of female, progenitor, creator, and beloved, within an abstract matrix. The exhibition features selections from a decade's worth of paintings in which Rosenthal has explored gender and the creation act. Inspired by traditional forms and even older myths, Rosenthal configures a complex, modern female identity in these canvases. Emanating from abstract spaces, her often solitary figures are embedded in geometrical forms or entwined with vegetal motifs that suggest the layered quality of this identity. In some recent canvases with paired figures, the artist extends her metaphors to play some new variations on the ancient theme of Eve with Adam.

"Eve's Vocabulary" reveals an artist who, as critic Lance Esplund wrote, "speaks to us in the language of the poet, as an explorer of the self and of nature." Rosenthal is a native New Yorker who has had six solo exhibitions since 1986 at the Bowery Gallery in SoHo, and has had paintings in numerous group exhibitions around the country. Reviews and articles concerning her work have appeared in Arts, Art in America, Art & Antiques, and Modern Painters.

Rosenthal received an MFA from Pratt Institute in 1974, and studied with the painter Ilya Bolotowsky. She has taught at many art schools and universities, including Parsons, the Kansas City Art Institute, Stanford, the Chautauqua School of Art, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is Professor of Art at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. A recipient of an NEA Critic's Grant in 1980, Rosenthal has written on art for magazines including Arts, Art in America, Modern Painters, and The New Criterion.

A color catalog accompanies the exhibition. Texts include an essay on Rosenthal's work by Mary Tompkins Lewis, renowned Cézanne scholar and Visiting Associate Professor of Art History at Trinity College; an essay, "Towards A Phenomenology of the Senses," by Yochanan Muffs, Professor of Bible and Religion at the Jewish Theological Seminary; and a statement by the artist.

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Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's first institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu