Ars Judaica

She Writes in White Ink: On Aesthetic, Religious, and Gender Perceptions in the Work of Jacqueline Nicholls

Ars Judaica (2018), 14, (1), 93–110.

Abstract

Jacqueline Nicholls’s art addresses Jewish-religious themes from a gender perspective, often using textiles and a range of sewing and embroidery techniques. In this paper I discuss two of her works - Maybe This Month, about the laws and rituals of niddah, and Ghosts and Shadows: The Women Who Haunt the Talmud, which relates to female figures in the Talmud. Both compositions feature text embroidered in white thread on white fabric. I draw on feminist theories about the act of writing and explore the ways in which Nicholls’s aesthetic choices and, in particular, the one to embroider text, function in the works with respect to questions of religion and of gender. I discuss the works alongside canonical-religious texts and point out how visual images created by a woman using a “feminine” artistic technique respond to texts produced by men within a masculine tradition of writing.

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Details

Author details

Tzoreff, Roni