Lawrence L. Langer
Showcases the distinctive work of one of the most innovative artists of our time.
"Samuel Bak's astounding imagination peels the veneer from the world of appearances
to show the lineaments of trutha truth both unearthly and earthy, transcendent
and objective, enameled yet piercing. In our time, the genius of Samuel
Bak has no peer: his historical penetration is matched only by his metaphorical
Samuel Bak's most recent series of paintings, New Perceptions of Old Appearances, is
a tribute to the power of the metaphorical imagination. Using the pear as a substitute
image for the familiar apple of Eden, Bak explores the struggle of modern
civilization to wrest from our fragile universe a viable mode of communal existence.
Bak's pears are stoic in their solidity, but vulnerable to decay. In some guises
they shine with the beauty of succulent fruit, but in others they fall victim to the
violence of history and the decay of time. In this bookfilled with color illustrationsLawrence L. Langer shows the versatility and uniqueness of Bak's art.
His pears play many roles, challenging the viewer to interpret their enigmatic
presences without having to search for a single dogmatic meaning. While some,
laden with promise, proclaim the inherent dignity of artistic form, others remind
us, as they are consumed by fire or sacrificed on strange altars, of what Bak has
called the "ineffaceable tragedy and sadness" that has been part of our lot as
human creatures during the past hundred years. His images are both ripe with life
and haunted by death.
Samuel Bak had his first exhibition at the age of nine in the Vilna Ghetto. After
emigrating to Israel, he studied at the Bezalel Art School in Jerusalem. He has had
numerous solo exhibitions at galleries and museums in the United States, Israel,
and Europe. Books about his work include Landscapes of Jewish Experience: Paintings
by Samuel Bak and The Book of Genesis in the Art of Samuel Bak.
Lawrence L. Langer
is Alumnae Chair Professor of English Emeritus at Simmons College. His publications
include The Holocaust and the Literary Imagination, Holocaust Testimonies:
The Ruins of Memory, Art from the Ashes: A Holocaust Anthology, and Preempting
8.75 x 11.25, 120 pages, 75 full-color plates
Distributed for Pucker Art Publications, Pucker Gallery, Boston