CARON TABB

ARTIST IN RESIDENCE | SPRING 2022

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Words That Matter

Acrylic, charcoal, graphite on canvas
60 x 36 inches

2019

I believe that there are moments, people and places in our personal journeys that define who we become. They have a lifelong impact. Such are the words on these canvases: written, rewritten, washed away, hidden, painted over, and buried. 

 

While creating these pieces I did not set out to control which words were hidden or which remained visible. I let the artistic process take on a life of its own. Every word I put onto the canvas is carved into my memory and my heart.

 

Over the course of the years 2017 - 2019 which included multiple visits to Israel, I kept a journal in which I tried to recall, free associate, and document the many people, places, object and incidents that have influenced my identity while growing up in Israel, and subsequently my life after moving to the US.

 

Looking at these canvases in their finished form, side by side, a curious pattern emerged. On the Hebrew canvas I was surprised to see that the words Shalom Chaver (“goodbye my friend”) remained prominently visible. These are the words President Bill Clinton used to bid farewell to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin at his funeral.

Rabin was assassinated while attending a Peace Now rally in Tel Aviv on November 4, 1995. My husband Kevin and I, and our then-9-month-old baby Shai attended that rally, and were standing not far from where a fanatic member of a rightwing settlers group ended his life and much of the hope of peace for our generation.

 

The horrific memory of that day of his assassination is carved in stone in my heart, and remains one of the most impactful days of my life and one which turned the course of the history of the Peace process in Israel.

 

Beyond this political reference, another clear difference between the two canvases was that on the Hebrew version of the diptych, names of childhood friends and family members remain visible – showing how lingustically close this canvas, remains to my emotions and my heart.

 

In the English version, the names of the airports I frequented emerged as we shuttled between Israel and San Francisco and then Boston. 

 

Looking at these pieces side by side I wonder if this is coincidence or the artist’s hand subconsciously at work?

 
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