Genesis (Glass Ark Doors), 2023
Genesis: Glass & Light
The creation of the Genesis Glass Ark Doors for the renovation of Temple Beth Tikvah in Madison, CT was an opportunity to bring the congregation’s wish to commission a monumental work of art to inspire, preserve and protect the sacred Torah to fruition. Through its aesthetic and material form, the Ark door design had to reflect both the spiritual needs and the deep sense of place that shaped the shoreline community.
As a photographer, my challenge was to create not just an inspirational image, but an experience of transcendence through the image. The substance of glass was chosen for its unique lens-like visual properties: transparency, opacity and trans-illumination capability. Utilizing the spectral phenomenon of light and various photographic techniques, I was able to open the light spilling over the surface of the ocean at sunrise into its prismatic components – the way an impressionistic painter would have done with a brush at the dawn of photography. Activating light and heat during the fabrication process fuses a photographic interlayer between planes of tempered glass to produce intricate detail and color that embody the spirit, vibrancy and formal elements in the original scene.
The Ark doors successfully provide both a physical and symbolic gateway into an experience in which aesthetic form combined with sacred rituals renew the human spirit. A personal connection is made through the interaction of tradition, community, voice, light, image, materiality and touch. When a human hand moves to open the large glass Ark door, the worshipper is bathed in light and leans into the Mystery. Sliding the glass Ark doors open reveals the Torah. The Word and worshippers are united in this process. Desire for connection and meaning are thus renewed and replenished within the totality of the experience.