McMaster Museum of Art proudly presents
The Ten Commandments / Prohibited Weapons
The Thirteen Attributes of God
Tomlinson Gallery (level 4)
17 August – 2 December 2017
PUBLIC RECEPTION: Thursday, September 14, 6 – 8 pm
ARTIST’S TALK: Thursday, September 28, 12:30 – 1:20 pm
This exhibition presents Simon Glass’s photo-hybrid suites from the collections of McMaster Museum of Art (The Ten Commandments/ Prohibited Weapons, 2005, ten giclée prints, Gift of the Artist, 2015) and the Art Gallery of Hamilton (The Thirteen Attributes of God, 2001, thirteen silver prints,Gift of the Artist, 2007).
Simon Glass is an artist and educator based in Toronto. In his artistic practice, archival and original photographic imagery is combined with mystical, biblical and liturgical Hebrew.Simon Glass is an Associate Professor at OCAD University where he teaches cross-disciplinary art and photography. In 2015/16 Glass was Artist in Residence at the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto.
In the two bodies of work I address justice and forgiveness respectively. While the God of the Jews is written a harsh and vengeful one, that God is merciful and forgiving too.
The Ten Commandments/Prohibited Weapons show the full Hebrew text of the Ten Commandments combined with photographic imagery showing palms of hands, floral tapestries and weapons prohibited by the Canadian criminal code. Each of the first five commandments, which represent transgressions against God, is paired with one of the latter five commandments, which represent transgressions against others. The prints are presented with translation into English modified from that of the Jewish Publication Society.
A given idiom will not always, or perhaps ever, convey the same thing to any two individuals. The illusion of denotation that is essential to language determines that both the possibility and the impossibility of justice are mitigated because there can be no justice without law yet no law will always be just. Each of us who has been exposed to any law, has to decide according to circumstances whether or not to abide. Free will is thrust upon us.
The Thirteen Attributes of God is a suite of thirteen silver prints. The text, which appears on the prints, is of biblical origin and can be found in the liturgy of the Jewish High Holidays. The thirteen attributes themselves, some of which are holy names of God, and others of which are attributes like merciful, gracious, truthful, slow to anger and forgiving, are invoked on Yom Kippur (The Day of Atonement), in what is usually a fervent bid for forgiveness. The seemingly ironic juxtaposition of this text with photographic images, which suggest sensory experience and mortality, addresses loss, belief, doubt and anthropomorphic ideas about God.
– Simon Glass
McMaster Museum of Art
Alvin A. Lee Building
1280 Main St W
Hamilton, ON L8S 4L6
Admission to all exhibitions and events is FREE
Museum Hours: Tue/Wed/Fri 11am-5pm, Thu 11-7, Sat 12-5