Meaning of Line: Newman

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For some artists, painting is a space to be done without thinking, and to act with emotions. For some artists, it is a battlefield that needs to be thought about, interpreted and revealed. Bernat Newman is one of the artists who thinks about everything before taking the canvas. He interprets and confronts us with metaphysical thought in such an uncompromising way that his work continues to amaze many experienced art viewers. When you sink into his paintings without knowing his underlying philosophy, you begin to calmly feel what he is telling you. It slowly draws you in and you begin to listen as if you are partnering in a prayer. I think this effect stems from what is called the "Greek plastic triumph", that is, it gives us a feeling of sublime when compared to the concept of beauty. Greek Aesthetics starts from the physical beauty of the object and is shaped personally through the forms of expression. Newman, on the other hand, wants to experience the Supreme in his works, finds a universal experience with his intuition and succeeds in passing this pure spirituality to us.

The mystical side of artists works like prophets, like a revolutionary who searches for universal truths discovered personally and directly, but instead of building cathedrals, he moves forward by building emotions.


 Unity I /Onement (1948) Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, NY, USA

Newman finds the visual expression of his world of thought in the painting he calls Onement I, and the painting forms Newman's style. He tells that he started the canvas as a background for another painting, but the work remained unfinished in his studio for 2 autumns. Then he finds himself staring at it and wondering why it has touched him so deeply and created such vibrations in his mind, just as it did to us. He spent months trying to solve this riddle, trying to assess the meaning of it. In the middle, it refers to the straight line from top to bottom as a zip.

The title "Unity" encompasses many things. It is a component of the "manifestation of redemption", an important concept for them, which the Jews revered during Yom Kippur. onementIt is said to have been influenced by the medieval term meaning 'to unite'. The term then translates into religious contexts known as “atonement,” interpreted as sin and/or the Atonement of God and man through Jesus. Kabbalists view this holy day as a time to reflect on the mystery of creation. Along with the Kabbalah texts, Spinoza, whose writings Newman studied, ranks knowledge on three levels: data and rules learned by doing; Things learned by logic; A (highest) direct knowledge, obtained through an insight beyond reason, a direct intuition of the essence of things. This last level is similar to what Newman calls the "sublime".

The colors of Unity I also refer to Genesis. The reddish-brown area of ​​the background is adamah, the Hebrew word for the earth's spoon. Therefore, Adam was made of earth. Moreover, humans are simply animals that have stood up and walked. The middle of the canvas, the downward movement, represents the human being whose first incarnation was Adam. Zip also resembles Giacometti's figures to the viewer. It is delicate, like the fragile, fleeting moments of existence.

Unity is also a reference to Eve, the "State of Being". The Talmud says: "Man is called "one" only when he is complete… When man becomes one body with woman…" The state of being thus has its roots in the literature of Kabbalah and Talmud, on which Newman studied extensively. "A State of Being" is the Genetic moment; this is the moment when Adam and Eve were united; this moment celebrates human creativity, especially the creativity of the artist.

Newman paints seven ''Unity I'' paintings in five years, the zip symmetry he uses, imsamom symbolizes the perfection in his union with the existence of God.

We do not know whether the artist stopped at issue 7 on purpose, but it reminded me of a story about the vision of Hermes. The story starts like this:

“Look, listen and understand. You see the seven spheres through which all existing life goes on. The fall and rise of souls take place through them. The seven angels you see are the seven rays of the Word of Light. Each one dominates a sphere of Spirit, one of the phases in the life of spirit beings.”

The seven Angels in the vision of Hermes, the seven Deva in India, the seven Amshapand in Persia, the seven supreme Angels in the Chaldea, the seven Sefirot in the Kabbalah, the seven Archangels in the last book of the Christian faith Seven covenants. This seven-fold structure that envelops the universe does not show itself only in the seven colors of the rainbow: It is based on a seven-fold system according to the evolution of human beings due to its nature, perhaps Newman had hidden this in his paintings, who knows...

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