Parshat Toldot

Acrylic and mixed media collage on parchment, 2015
Acrylic and mixed media collage on parchment, 2015

Artist: Terry Braunstein,  USA

This Parasha interested me both because I have twin granddaughters, Eliana and Dania, and have always been interested in the ways in which dualities, of every kind, relate to one another. The story of Rebecca and Isaac, and their twin sons, Jacob and Esau, like all Torah stories, offer multiple interpretations. These twin brothers had a contentious and difficult time with one another from the time before they were even born — manifesting in competition, strife and deceit. As the centerpiece for this Parasha, I chose the architectural structure from an early alchemical manuscript because it shows a labyrinth illustrating “the journey of the soul and the path it needs to take in order to move from the material realm, to the Divine.”   At the center is the Tree of Life, where all comes together as one unified whole.  The image to the left of the Tree is a collaged painting representing Rebecca with her sons, and to the right is an image of Isaac blessing Jacob — both illustrating aspects of Jacob’s and Esau’s lives. The twin boys in the foreground are from the early 20th Century, linking this ancient story to more recent times.

Finally, the two women, pregnant with twins, emphasize the “twin” aspect of the story and give us pause to remember that the couple, after Isaac pleading with God for Rebekkah to conceive, finally had two sons.

About Terry

Terry Braunstein is a multi-media photomontage artist. She is primarily known for her collage work.  Her exhibitions include the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Gallery Miyazaki, Japan, LA County Museum of Art, Sala Arcs gallery, Barcelona, and Museo Civico, Italy. Her work is housed in the National Museum of American Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, The Library of Congress and The Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.

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