Springs artist and poet Haim Mizrahi is showing new paintings in his first solo exhibition at Vered Gallery in East Hampton. Opening this Saturday, December 20, with a special candle lighting and songs with Chabad of East Hampton, Hatikvah-Hope is a celebration of Mizrahi’s home country of Israel, just in time for Channukah.
Works in the show feature expressionist painting applications, along with some recognizable Jewish imagery, such as the six-pointed Mogan David (also known as the Star of David or Shield of David), named for Jewish military hero King David and symbolic of God’s rule over the universe in six directions—north, south, east, west, up and down. The paintings also display Hebrew text and images of the menorah, a symbol representing the holiday of Channukah and Jewish survival, specifically in their battle against the Greeks by the Maccabees, when Helenism threatened to overrun Israel in 167 BC and a small band of Jews turned the battle against the Jewish people into a victory. This victory is commemorated annually by the lighting of the menorah, one light for each of the eight nights that a single vial of oil burned, when by measure, it should only have burned one night.
Along with the Jewish themes, Mizrahi’s paintings and collages are defined by recurrent themes, such as creative energy, individuality and kinetic power. Usually working in a blaze of color, elements of Mizrahi’s sometimes graphic, sometimes free-form style bring artists such as Frank Stella and Jackson Pollock to mind, yet he always shines as an artistic original. “My work stretches across many styles due to my detachment from rules and points of reference that speak for the journey of the great masters,” Mizrahi says. “I value the energy that finds itself smiling through the end result,” the artist adds.
“The works of Haim Mizrahi mean a great deal to me,” Vered Gallery owner Janet Lehr explains in an announcement about the show. “They embody the support of Israel at a time when the world has become hostile,” Lehr says, defending Israel’s current fight in the Middle East. The gallerist notes that, to her, Mizrahi’s paintings evoke freedom and hope, “above all, hope.”
Some locals may recognize Mizrahi, who Lehr calls a “Renaissance man for the 21st century,” as the host of his morning talk show Hello Hello on LTV in East Hampton. Also a poet, writer and jazz musician, he has published several CDs of music and a number of books, including a collection of pithy aphorisms called There Is No Simple Way to Say Simple Things, a Snack for Your Mind. His recent poems are featured in Long Island Sounds, an anthology of poems by Long Island poets, and he has shown extensively throughout the East End and Israel.
As Mizrahi sees his paintings inextricably woven with music and poetry, he often performs with other local musicians and reads poetry at his exhibitions. As Lehr says, his shows are not-to-be-missed happenings.
Haim Mizrahi’s Hatikvah-Hope, an exhibition of paintings, opens at Vered Gallery in East Hampton (68 Park Place) with a special reception on Saturday, December 20 from 6–9 p.m. Chabad of East Hampton will join the celebration with a candle lighting and songs at 6 p.m. Call 631-324-6450 or visit veredart.com for more info.