malchut shebe malchut, majesty within Majest—We Finish Counting the Omer

In this week’s NYTimes magazine, in “Metric Mania”, John Allen Paulos quotes a saying usually attributed to Einstein: “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”  That may be the most accurate description of what Omer counting is all about that I have ever read.

In our Omer group last night, Peter said that the definition of majesty is the deep sense of self respect we hold.  And, for me, that sums up this year’s Omer counting work:  Some sense of trusting my self, my work, my desire…..My inner orientation for what is real feels restored after a very challenging winter.  I head into the garden, into the planting, and into the summer paintings with a reasonably solid sense of alignment.

It felt good to use my work as my counting….a good way of moving through this time and seeing myself relate figures in space, utilize new materials, as the motivation to produce something I could “count” at the end of the day.  My refrigerator door paintings, Sustenance in Exhile, are as much reflection (literally) and autobiography as they are portraiture and representation.  The images and the material interact in a way that describes my visual response to the question of what sustains me in this place.

Though, in the end, I found myself counting a lot more than paintings.

It was an honor to travel with this year’s core group:  Joshua, Peter, Stella, Miriam, Amy, Jen, Zoe, Gail and the Monday Morning Biblical Painters at Shelli’s.  I believe the top discussion moment in our group this year– though it’s hard to choose as there were many amazing interchanges—was the discussion on anticipating the weight of snow.  It was the talk around Yesod when Peter described how an architect builds from the ground up, but conceptualizes from the top down…..having to anticiapte all the possibilities s/he can imagine, including the weight of snow and it’s impact on the structure.  Miriam applied that idea to human capacity for prediction and asked, “How much can human beings bear?”  You had to be there.

In that same “Metric Mania” article John Allen Paulos ends with a caveat about aggregating data:  “No method of measuring a societal phenomenon satisfying certain minimal conditions exists that can’t be second guessed, deconstructed, cheated, rejected, replaced.  This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be counting — but it does mean we should do so with as much care and wisdom as we can muster.”  Nuff said.

Majesty within Majesty—malchut shebe malchut.

Last night, Monday evening, May 17, we counted forty nine days, which is seven weeks of the Omer.

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viola moriarty

(American, b. 1958)
Modern Expressionist Painter
2012-13 Recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant

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Current and ongoing: New Works, Allegro Ristorante in Bennington on Main Street.

Elm Street Market, Bennington

Spiral Press Cafe, Manchester, Vermont (2013) details TBA

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