Beth Wittenberg

February 2019
Making art for me is both spiritual and cathartic. I am a 53 yr old American Jew and much of the art I make stems from my early exposure to my Jewish upbringing.
I begin by staring at the empty white of the canvas. I begin to  hear voices and receive messages which I believe are communications with the Great Spirit. I rarely listen to music while creating; instead I listen to the voices that tell me what artistic decisions to make. It is not as dramatic as a burning bush, but I hear voices that point me i  the right direction. As I am working on a piece, I do not edit my work.
I have no concept or idea as I approach the white of the canvas. The white canvas is like a pregnant pause, waiting to reveal its purpose.  My artwork is raw. It is frenetic and excitable. It is daring and brave. I often times practice “automatic writing”. Similiar to stream of consciousness writing, automatic writing is where I receive words, phrases, and thoughts that are enigmatic in nature and question my purpose. They flood my mind while I paint. Sometimes a word might start the painting off, or other times I will have words come to me at the same time as I am in the process of painting. Then there are times when the words or sentiments become the final punctuation mark of the dialogue between me, the canvas, and a Great Spirit. Each line, word, mark, gesture informs the next.  The words and images have both a global or universal message — the Great Spirit warns of turmoil, disaster and dis-ease.
For me the paintings reveal obscured messages from beyond. I often times receive answers to the questions I have been mulling over in my mind – both personal and political questions; individual and universal concerns. I believe my artwork holds answers to some of life’s universal questions. It is my hope that the viewer also has an inner dialogue and questions what they see, and what they read.

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