Selected Recent Reviews

February 2006
Preview of "Midrash, Stories Reclaimed"
—Diane Jalfon, Public Relations and Public Events Manager, Brooks Museum

Carol’s work evokes a sense of humanity. It depicts elements that make up an individual - family, tradition, and memory - yet juxtaposes these elements with a strong feeling of personal identity. She brings these bits and pieces together on canvas as in life: daughter, artist, teacher, woman. She combines imagery from her past with a contemporary palette and an original aesthetic, revealing layers of meaning. These works transcend time and place, representing more the journey than the destination.

We sense that the creating of these images is a way of reconciling her past with her present. They are imbued with a reverence toward the past, yet full of spirit for a meaningful new intergration into the present and future.

 

 


February 2006
Preview of "Midrash, Stories Reclaimed"

—Hannah Griff, Folklorist Ph.D.
Deputy Director of Public Programs at the Eldridge Street Project, NYC, NY

What is the female experience of Judaism in the 21st century? Usually, debates are limited to interpretations of biblical stories and literary commentary but looking at Carol Buchman’s work as a whole invites one to contemplate the feminine aspects of Judaism and how these ancient rituals embody meaning today. Buchman’s aesthetic style incorporates collage, the use of the figure and important totems of her personal journeys. Her palate tends towards the softer hues with strong use of color with subtle black and white graphics. This limited use of black and white allows for softness and a middle ground for what might be for some, provocative assertions.


In one of her paintings, Havdalah for Herta, the female figure stands in the center of the picture, and is surrounded by many religious articles for Havdalah (a Saturday night service that ends the Sabbath and ushers in the new week): a spice container on the left, a lit braided candle in the middle and the Kiddush cup to the right. The tones are so muted that the objects appear and recede in the piece suggesting a sense of continuity between past and present, and the use of the black and white photographs recalls the immigrant ancestors as does the figure’s black and white patterned dress.

The eternal light, found in every synagogue, dominates the upper right corner as does the spirit like figure exiting through the open door, (suggesting the Sabbath Queen’s departure) reinforcing the artist’s faith. Flowers in the vase and on the wallpaper and the lace tablecloth suggest the holiness of the Sabbath.

The ritualistic way in which layers are used in this artist’s collage represents the layering of generations, traditions and faith.

 


PROGRAM: THE MIVKAH UNCOVERED
Sunday, March 26 at 3 PM

Urban archeologist Dr. Celia Bergoffen, Rabbi Rona Shapiro, and Eldridge Street Project historian Annie Polland dip into a fascinating subject: the Jewish ritual bath. Just in time for Women's History Month, you can immerse yourself in the religious lives of immigrant women of a century ago and discover ways that new generations of women have innovated with this millennia-old ritual. The program will investigate mikvah architecture, history and ritual, as well as some art it has inspired. You'll also learn about Bergoffen's exciting archaeological dig, which unearthed what is probably New York's oldest mikvah right behind the Eldridge Street Synagogue. Part of the Project's long-range plans includes a fuller and more permanent excavation of the site, so that we can interpret for the public the role that this institution played in the lives of East European Jews - perhaps your ancestors - who once lived on the Lower East Side.