“It was a night of watching for God, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. This night remains a vigil to God for all the Israelites, for all generations.” (Exodus 12:42)
In this verse, the Torah twice refers to the night of Passover as “leil shimurim,”a night of watching, a night of anticipation and protection. The Zohar (2:38a) says that on the night of our redemption from Egypt, the night was lit up as bright as day and “night became day.” The journey from darkness to light has been the challenge of the Jewish people since that very first exodus. Since then, we have traveled through many a dark night. But we have also lived with the vision of a time when “darkness itself will be illumined and will turn to light.” To create this painting, a dark under-layer was transformed by painting over it with layers of water and paint, as if the darkness was giving way to a dawning light. The water created a liquid sensibility and gave fluidity to the sky, the trees, and the figures. While the canvas was still wet, Raanan used rags to wipe away some of the excess color. In some places the original white of the canvas came through, creating transparency and luminosity. Then he began introducing white paint drops, enjoying how they interacted with the cloudy blue background. The drops became glowing stars, adding sparkle, highlighting the mystery of the impending moment. “I named this painting ‘Transition’ because it seems to embody the word,” says Raanan. “It came about through a process of transition – an old work giving way to a new – darkness giving way to light, and it communicates a feeling of change and movement. There is a soft flow, back and forth, between the figures and the landscape, and this soft flow is echoed in the transition between night and the awakening day. The technique is not just to light up the darkness, but to transform it and impregnate it with meaning, to reveal it so that the darkness glows, actually producing light.