David Friedman Kosmic Kabbalah Gallery Safed
|דוד פריידמן אומן
|Kosmic Kabbalah, Friedman Kabbalah Art
|One of Tzfat’s original Kabbalah artists who infuses his artwork with his Kabbalah studies.
The Kosmic Kabbalah art gallery exhibits the works of artist David Friedman who is one of Tzfat’s best known Kabbalah artists. David has lived in Tzfat since 1979. His studies of Kabbalah and Torah in Tzfat have always been included in his artwork.
David Friedman immigrated to Israel from Denver Colorado and settled in the Old City on Bar Yochai street. He had always studied the classical Jewish religious texts, such as the Talmud and its commentaries, but while in Tzfat he began to delve into Kabbalah study. During his early years in Tzfat he studied during the day and worked on his artwork at night, creating artwork that was based on Torah concepts and ideas. He found himself particularly interested in Jewish mandalas. The first mandala that he painted, “The Orchard of the Torah,” was based on a Tibetan mandala design.
Friedman was diagnosed with cancer in 1987 and as part of his recovery, he began to practice meditation. He was influenced by the works of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan which teach that meditation, a practice that has been largely ignored until recently, is an important part of Kabbalah. He began to include Kabbalah study, meditation/yoga and modern conceptual art in his art works.
David Friedman employs his own system of translating Kabbalistic concepts into colors and graphic shapes. He bases this system on the “Sefer Yetzirah” (Book of Creation), a basic Kabbalistic text. He also receives inspiration from other texts. He is also heavily influenced by the teachings of Rabbi Moshe Haim Luzatto, a Kabbalistic scholar of the 18th century, and Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, an early 20th century mystic. He connects many of his paintings to the World of Repair, a key element of Lurianic Kabbalah which was developed by Rabbi Isaac Luria (the ARI). The ARI was a 16th century mystic who lived and studied in Tzfat in the 16th century. Both the subjects and the processes employed in the execution of many of David Friedman’s works are related to the concept of Repairing the World -- learning and growing through successes and failures by experimenting and revising.
David Friedman creates his art utilizing a variety of mediums including watercolors, pen-and-ink and acrylic paints. He will often take a subject or concept and explore it in multiple ways. Many of the subjects of his Jewish-inspired paintings revolve around Hebrew letters (“The Power of Aleph,” the “Ying Yang Aleph,” “22 Foundation Letters,” “72 Letters of the Holy Name), numbers (“Ein Sof and the Ten Sephirot,” the “32 Paths of Creation,” and the “10 Paths of Creation”), Holy Names (“Meditating on the Holy Name,” “The Name, Sefirot and Partzufim”) and the Tree of Life. Friedman also paints landscapes, geometric and abstract paintings.
 Classes and Lectures
Visitors to the Kosmic Gallery can request explanations of the ideas and concepts upon which David Friedman bases his work. In addition, groups are invited to book a lecture with David Friedman where he uses his art to introduce the Kabbalah and Jewish Meditation. These presentations provide people with insights into Judaism, Kabbalah and the place that the Tzfat Kabbalistic tradition has had in influencing Judaism. He also discusses the popularity of Kabbalah in recent years and the reasons for this modern interest in an ancient discipline.