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by Ghenadie Sontu,
oil on canvas,
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Thank you for posting this new painting, Hanukkah, on the site recently. I have admired your incredibly skillful and nuanced paintings in the past, but even more so now I view your practice as divided into two closely related bodies of work. The first relays figural manifestations of spirituality, and the second constructs quieter still life and patterned interior spaces, often serving as vanitas. This new piece appears to fall closer to the latter category, as the emphasis is on place rather than person, but it also offers a much more dynamic, and commanding gestalt of form and idea. The architectural scale of the menorah could be seen as an extension of the tiny grouped worshippers on the ground. But it is severed from the corporeal world below by dark red and black clouds of billowing smoke. The otherwise ominous mood of this vertical ascension is relieved by the pale blue light reaching to the heavens. I find this division between the spaces; the geometric order of the white figures aligning with the white temple structure, and the larger than life religious iconography to represent an axis mundi. It could also be seen as the physical world channeling faith, as the menorah visually functions as a huge funnel to an open-air space. These are works that beautifully explore a faith tradition. Thank you for sharing them with a wider audience.
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