Upon entering Lloyd Bloom’s exhibition at the Chassidic Art Institute one is confronted by a sweet beautiful image of a lamb skipping through the air in a puffy cloud landscape. Right next to it is an image of a goat kid cuddled up in the lap of a young shepherd. Further down the wall we see paintings depicting a young man leining from the Torah, then women lighting Shabbos candles and finally a father and son at the seder table, all candidates to be the most emblematic scene of Jewish life imaginable. So too an emotional scene showing a crowd of traditional Jews embracing each other sweeps us away in a wave of familiar emotions. All true until one picks up the gallery list of paintings with each work’s title. Little by little the façade falls away and a much more serious and tragic patina adjusts the meaning of these intriguing artworks.
From 1997 to 1998 John Dubrow got to know the World Trade Center fairly well. He made many paintings from a high vantage point on the 91st floor in a temporary studio granted him by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. His heavily worked cityscapes built solid compositions out of urban structure, color and space and define an important body of his work at that time. After September 11, 2001 he was, like most New Yorkers, devastated by the attacks and the destruction of the World Trade Center. He wondered how he could return to cityscapes after his city had been so violated and his artistic milieu shattered. In the wake of the smoke, ash and collapse he groped for an artist's response to this mass murder.
“And though I cannot attain to much herein, yet I am refreshed to have seen some glimpse thereof (as Moses saw the Land of Canaan afar off.) My aim and desire is to see how the words and phrases lie in the holy text; and to discern somewhat of the same for my own account.”