Select Judaica Work
In a clear departure from my anatomical work, I began apprenticing with my father Max Benshabat [1927-2015] who was an artist and sofer [scribe]. From the year 2000 to 2005, I was immersed in the study of Hebrew text moving beyond the confines of line drawing. With my father’s patient mentoring, along with archival and museum research, several bodies of work emerged that explored the literary, scientific and artistic splendour of Medieval Jewish life.
This archive of work below represents the very last pieces [out of a hundred] assimilated from various exhibits over the last twenty years.
All of my paintings and silkscreens contain pigments obtained from stone, mineral and plant sources that I grind or process myself. The resulting powders and dyes are mixed as a paste with a gel medium that allows the colour to fix onto the material and maintain its lustre over time.
I've found that the use of natural pigments on raw silk, canvas, and even cotton paper, gives the art a luminous quality, a range of beautiful textures, and a fuller 'body'. These combine well with the work's purposely distressed surfaces that recall the rich tapestry art of the Medieval and Renaissance era.
Archive of Pigments and Dyes
Top Shelf: [l to r] ground copper, gold, pearl pigment, fra angelico blue, unground lapis lazuli, ground ochre, powdered chysanthemum
Middle Shelf: bird feathers for gold/ silver pigment dusting, euonymous leaves and berries, 24k gold leaf suspended in alcohol, myrrh resin [binder], alum [mordant], ground woad pigment [Isatis tinctoria], dried cochineal, Virginia Creeper berries
Bottom Shelf: black and sepia inks from lamp black carbon and charcoal, thistle/bramble branches, antique silver pigment, bird bones [binder pigment for titanium white], carnelian wax, amber resin