Pixilated Angel Stopping Abraham

Computer-Generated Painting and Serigraph by Mel Alexenberg

The acrylic painting on canvas and the serigraph on black Arches paper that I printed at Brand X in New York are a digitized detail from Rembrandt’s etching of an angel stopping Abraham from killing his son.  Retaining the pixilation makes it apparent that it is a computer angel, in Hebrew malakh mahshev, the masculine form of the term for art, m’lekhet mahshevet, literally “thoughtful craft.”

Looking at the computer-generated painting and serigraph at the usual viewing distance, one sees a geometric abstract image composed entirely of squares.  When stepping backward, however, an image begins to appear.  It grows into a clear figurative image of Abraham and the angel with increasing distance.  Perhaps angels are invisible to us close up and only come into focus as we see the miracles in our everyday life.  The serigraph is a metaphor for encountering the spiritual in the quality of our holistic perception of the material world.  Pattern recognition of meaning in the flow of our lives can come from stepping back and seeing the whole picture as an ecosystem of interrelated parts where the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts. The serigraph also blurs the distinction between figurative and abstract art.  It is both simultaneously.  It invites a postmodern reading from multiple perspectives.  A deconstructed image is reconstructed by our physical movement and perceptual shift.  

The saga of the Jewish people begins with the third chapter of the Bible when Abram is told “lekh lekha,”

“Walk yourself away from your land, from your birthplace, from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1).  Walk through yourself, move in geographical space and inner space, away from the most familiar and then you will arrive at seeing in a new way.