"Soul Prints" gives expression to the Jewish mystical tradition that I experience in meditation, prayer and learning. A work of spiritual art, "Soul Prints" is intended to evoke spiritual truths and higher states of consciousness. The world today challenges us to recover our lost souls and revive the concept of sacredness. The loss of spirituality has left a void in our lives. And yet, the art process itself can be a personal tikkun, or healing, infused with kavannah, or intention, to heal the body, mind and soul.
I refer to myself as a Jewish spiritual artist and educator because, through my creative process, I am led to a greater understanding of myself and my connection to my world. I seek not only the beauty that is to be found in artistic expression, but also its meaning.
Kandinsky referred to this as "an inner necessity" that puts us in touch with our souls. Marc Chagall considered his work to be prayer, in the sense of a vital, fresh discovery of his own special presence in the world. Art is thus a powerful act, capable of elevating the ordinary to the extraordinary as it reveals its own essence and change.
My art fulfills my own deep need for purpose. Abraham Joshua Heschel has written that, "Jewish tradition insists that no performance is complete without the participation of the heart. It asks for inner participation, not only external action. Kavannah is the awareness of the will of God." In my own work, I seek to integrate the concepts of kavannah and tikkun with art as a transformative process. This therapeutic aspect of the creative act allows me to express and examine myself. Each form has deeper meaning.
My kavannah in this work stems from the spiritual call in the Biblical portion of Lech Lecha, as interpreted by Rashi: " Go forth for yourself … and you shall be a blessing." "Go forth" challenges me to have the courage to create, to dare explore and to trust the creative process. The blessing comes from being true to myself, fulfilling my potential and producing the art that gives expression to that kavannah.
Each "Soul Print" is composed of an etching below, and an embossing that alludes to it above. In a reference to the expression of the Zohar, "as above, so below," each work can be read in either direction. My creative process is intuitive and spontaneous, resulting in an abstract form that comes from deep within. Its meaning is revealed to me only later, as I contemplate the finished work.
This collection, entitled "Soul Prints," is a collection of Jewish spiritual art. Edna's art speaks in the language of calligraphy, the highest and most ancient form of Jewish art. As expressed in her prints, Edna's journey is full of life; her inner landscapes recall Japanese paintings. Her prints reveal strength that far exceeds the simple functionality of the letters: Edna creates her own personal language. The brushstrokes are gestural and abstract, emphasizing texture and contrasting colors. The letters are intentionally connected to the embossing, which, as it is slowly revealed, intensifies the aesthetics of the work. The work thus gives voice to a conversation between the embossing and the (printing) plate, bringing the work to the highest degree of wholeness.
Miri Grossman – Curator
Photographs: Douglas Guthrie