Gaming in the Name of the Lord
There can be many similarities drawn between religion and sports. Both organized religion and organized sports are based on rules. There are rules to be followed if one is to "win" the game of baseball and there are rules to be followed if one is to be "saved", find eternal salvation or "go to heaven."
Just as every "team" has it's own uniform, logo and colors, so too does each religion have its uniform, its logo ( for example a crucifix, a star of david, or the star and crescent), its face that it represents to the world.
Both sports and religion are meant to appeal to "the people", to"the masses" because they both provide a strong sense of identity and of belonging to something bigger than self,. They represent a place where everyone can be part of the community and one's "status" does not matter.
In today's world, despite the best of intentions, both religion and sports have veered from their original "mission" of providing an ethical way of life. They have each become a game - a game of corporate money, a game of manipulation, a game to be won at all costs so one can attain the grand prize, be it the World Series Championship or a permanent place in heaven, residing in the "kingdom of the Lord." Just as baseball is now a game that is accessible mostly to celebrities and those with money, a game that is sponsored by large corporations, so too is organized religion a game where one's idolotry of ritual is more revered than having a moral center and living life in an ethical manner.
The irony is that there can be no winners. We are all the losers.



"Light -so central to the painter's oeuvre for obvious reasons - has been subvertedin these boxes, painted for the most part in ultraviolets, blacks and blues,luminosity offered instead via incandescence. Bulbs placed inside the framesboth illuminate and form part of the composition; landscapes peopled by plastictoys. A trio of flickering bulbs at the feet of a suggestively supine Barbieserve to reveal an anomaly of her anatomy. Meant to amuse these toys disturb.Landscapes are barren, otherworldly - between worlds where the artificial ismost important. The viewer is oriented towards the disoriented, the toys arenot so much themselves lost as the worlds they hover between and over. A plasticBig Mac made gigantic by perspective, appears to have been abandoned by theside of what is not exactly a road; a grinning purple demon leers at the viewerdaring him or her to approach. A magnificent piece of driftwood trailing a circuitboard is guided through a void suggesting outer space by a disembodied greenhand. Could this be a healthy hand? Below, a quartet of footballers of the saloontable game variety are posed rigidly below, spitted through by their familiariron bar, forever unable to make a move. Mickey Mouse appears to love swimmingwith sharks. These paintings have their own sources of light and it is indeedartificial."

John Farris

[Poet and Editor of Digitas, 2000]

"Shalom Neuman'snew show, Altared Icons, takes the discarded toys of our childhood and assemblesthem in such a way that what you first thought looked familiar may be somethingyou never saw before, and what you thought was friendly might be sinister. Itmakes one think of the lines in a Bob Dylan song "you know something ishappening but you don't know what it is. Do you Mister Jones?"
What's happening is Neuman isn't creating art to escape the contemporary era,but - like Dylan - to plunge us further into it. he portrays the innocence ofchildhood without leaving out the evil it could become. Each piece, containedin a black box, is lit by small lights. I know of no other fusion artist whocreates work as powerful as Joseph Cornell without making us feel like we'repeeking."

Hal Sirowitz

[Author of Mother Said,2000]