Celebrating Maine's Jewish Art, History and Culture in a Restored 1921 Synagogue
Three New Exhibitions and the DaPonte String Quartet
May 10, 2018 - July 5, 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, May 10th, 5pm-7pm
DaPonte String Quartet: Thursday, May 10th, 7:30pm
First Friday Art Walks:
June 1st and July 5th, 5pm-8pm
Artists' Dialogue: Sunday, June 3rd, 2-4pm
Artists Rush Brown and Ted Arnold
will interview one another in this engaging exchange.
This is a series of paintings inspired by a performance of the All-Portland School Band and several band concerts in different districts thereafter. The school band is always on the endangered species list. Yet each year a small legion picks up the trombones of their ancestors, and with hope, fear, faith and sweat, begins the ancient human struggle to let our spirit out of its cage.
In the end it is about everything. Everything human that can be fit into it - passions and doubts and incapacities and sensualities, odd thoughts and curiosities. My work is about how little we can know, and how powerful that little can be.
Once, as a teenager in India, I looked under the hood of a car which had carried my family halfway to Agra before collapsing. The engine compartment was riddled with string, coat hanger wire and torn sheets wound tightly around hoses. An old stately goat herd appeared and pointed with his staff to something. That something was then wrapped tightly with something else and on to Agra. I have for some time felt that we are like that car. Patched and lashed and cobbled together, recovering from each blow with hanger wire, compensating for erosions with torn-sheet bindings. We are ridiculous miracles, pathetic miracles. Contradictions and inconsistencies are our mode of survival.
THE MUSEUM PAINTINGS
Fineberg Family Community Room
The paintings in this exhibition represent a theme that has emerged throughout a career focused on the human figure, landscape and the narrative that springs forth between them. People in museums occupy a specific microcosm that is both private and public. Individuals interact with the work being displayed and with each other in ways that are social or not, and in ways that are strictly visual, relative to composition. The narratives in the work are implied rather than literal. Some of the paintings are opportunities for copying of great works. Some emphasize rarified interiors typical of museums. Others are showcases for works by me that are either already complete or new. They all are exercises in painting, done over time, unified by their subject : museum interiors.
Rush Brown is a painter living in Portland, Maine. He received his BFA from Philadelphia College of Art and a Masters in Painting from NYU. He has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the country and the world and is currently represented by Elizabeth Moss Galleries, Falmouth, Maine.
IN LOVING MEMORY
Third Floor Sanctuary
Alex Sax's exhibition "In Loving Memory" is a celebration of beauty, hope and freedom.
Sax presents a series of cut out black and white butterflies and small ink drawings and prints of the Maine Jewish Museum gardens. These images capture the magnificence of the natural world up close. Sax focuses on the shapes and textures of the flowers, building the images up with layers of marks. The drawings are reminiscent of old black and white photographs. Each image is a moment of becoming, and a reminder of our transitory time on earth.
Alex Sax is an artist who draws inspiration from nature and history. Working in different mediums from drawing to installation, Sax captures the spirit and energy of her subject. Her historical fiction installation "The Cobweb Club" at the Portland Museum of Art, Maine focused on the Cobweb Club (1890-92) which is thought to be the earliest women's club in Washington DC. The installation included cast paper sculptures, prints and a wall painting based on the journals of Margaret Jane Mussey Sweat, founder of the club. Other installations of her work include "Material Matters," Whitney Art Works, Portland, ME; "Altered Realities", Westchester Community College Gallery, Valhalla, NY, and "A Shift in Scale," The Gallery of Contemporary Art, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT. Sax has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Weir Farm. Her permanent bronze sculpture and mosaic installation "Turtle Migration" commissioned by New York City Percent for Art and School Construction Authority is at Learners and Leaders School, NY. Sax received a BA from Hamilton College and an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She lives and works in Portland, Maine.
DaPonte String Quartet
On May 10 at 7:30 pm, the DaPonte String Quartet will conclude its season in Portland with "Obsessions", which will explore three very different kinds of obsession in works by Hugo Wolf, Franz Schubert, and Bela Bartok. While Wolf's "Italian Serenade" is a light-hearted look at young men smitten by love, Bartok's Quartet No. 2 is the result of his obsession with the folk music of his native Hungary. And words like "enormous," "massive" and "monumental" are always used to describe Schubert's Quartet No. 15 in G Major, written in the last year of his tragically brief life.
The DaPonte String Quartet is Maine's premier string ensemble. Founded in 1991 in Philadelphia, it moved to Maine over 20 years ago and now performs more than 50 times a year state-wide and year-round, as well as touring the Northeast.
Tickets are $25 and are available at www.DaPonte.org and at Longfellow Books. For more information, call 529-4555.
Paula will discuss her exhibition "Full Circle," which traces her life, including her departure from New England to California at 17 years old and her return to Maine at 56 years old, plus her extensive travel over the years. Her paintings are figurative and abstract. They merge text and visual images on paper and canvas, including a 30 ft. scroll narrative of a newly divorced young mother grappling with the competing demands of art, work and motherhood. This diverse body of work represents her developmental, geographic, and emotional journey.
~ Off the Page ~
Performance of "Etty's Song" at 4 pm
Martin Steingesser, Judy Tierney and Rudy Gabrielson will perform "Etty's Song", a tribute to Etty Hillesum, a Dutch Jew who was killed in 1943 at Auschwitz, along with members of her family. The tribute is based on Etty's writings and complemented by Martin's poems, with Rudy playing keyboards and other instruments. They call their trio Off the Page, because they take beautiful words written for the page and repurpose them as a performance of words and music. Steingesser has called Etty the "unknown Martin Luther King Jr.," who had the ability in the darkest moments to find peace, love and light. She kept a journal the last few years of her life, and her writings were published in 1981, nearly 40 years after her death at the hands of the Nazis. "Etty's Song" focuses on the meaning of her life and emphasizes her spirit and capacity for love.
Do not miss these
March 8, 2018 - May 4, 2018
First Friday Art Walks:
May 4th, 5pm-8pm
Karen Brooks ~ Reliefs - These works inhabit the broken and holy. They reflect the relationship between the hidden inner nestled in the natural world. The paper sculptures are black and white, constructed in boxes. This highlights their structure to emphasize the light they hold.
Dr. Norm Rosenbaum ~ Small Animal Sculptures - Dr. Rosenbaum, retired physician, discovered stone carving in 1996 after studying woodcarving at the University of New Mexico. His Alabaster carvings of animals have been exhibited at Bowdoin College, Greenhut Gallery, Portland and as far away as Colorado, New Brunswick and Santa Fe, N.M.
Om Devi Reynolds ~ Sumi Drawings - Om Devi Reynolds is a visual artist whose focus for this show is brush work on paper. Her meditative work is about equanimity and our true-nature in this fleeting world. Om Devi has a BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology and lives in Casco ME.
Linda Gerson ~ Figurative Paintings - Since 2004 Linda Gerson has participated in weekly drawing groups with a live model. In recent years she has used life drawing as a transition to making more abstract shapes in both her drawing and her oil painting. A resident of Maine for close to twenty five years, Linda's art is informed by her natural environment, her dreams, as well as her many years as a psychotherapist.
FULL CIRCLE| Paula Gerstenblatt
Fineberg Family Community Room
Paula Gerstenblatt's work articulates a personal vantage point of relationships, nature, social commentary, and the journey of becoming a person in the world. She uses color, abstraction, form, and collage to construct her narrative. This exhibit represents her full circle journey from New England and back, starting with a narrative scroll of a newly divorced mother; paintings from sojourns to Greece, France, Denmark, and Ghana; and culminating with a series of paintings inspired by life in Maine. These journeys provide more than the opportunity to make art; they embody all that is entangled in the human experience.
Paula Gerstenblatt attended San Francisco Art Institute, received her BA in Art from Goddard College, and received her PhD in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. Gerstenblatt is also a community art practitioner and recipient of two National Endowment of the Arts Design grants and several foundation awards for projects in Senegal, Texas, and Portland, Maine where she is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at University of Southern Maine.
JUST A MOMENT IN TIME |Nanci Kahn
Third Floor Sanctuary
In the photographic installation, "Just A Moment In Time", black and white photographs are printed on silk representing the Buddhist notions of Impermanence and Transience; everything in the world lasts for just a moment. Life is fleeting. It is ephemeral, fragile and impermanent. It is the essence of the speed of childhood depicted in these photographs. Alongside these photos are large format images of keepsakes. Unlike heirlooms, objects that have been passed down from generation to generation, keepsakes have no real monetary value. We cherish them for the energy they exchange with our hearts. Their value lies in the remembrance of a specific person, a specific adventure, a specific moment in time. Together, both bodies of work blend to speak of the past, of memory and remembrance, and the knowledge that it is all just a moment in time.
Nanci Kahn is a photographer and sculptor based in Falmouth, Maine. She has exhibited in galleries and museums in Maine, New York, San Francisco and Ethiopia. Her work can be found in the permanent collections at the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, The Kroch Library at Cornell University, the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University, the Stephen K. Halpert Photography Collection at the University of New England, Portland, Maine, and the Judy Ellis Glickman Collection at the Portland Museum of Art, Maine.
STRATA | Shoshannah White
Work Together | Susan Webster & Stuart Kestenbaum
Fineberg Family Community Room
Auschwitz | Images of Resilience and Light | Arthur Fink
Third Floor Sanctuary
Exhibitions: January 14, 2018 – March 2, 2018
Sunday, January 28, 2018, 2pm: Brief artist’s talk with Shoshannah White followed by question and answer session
First Friday Art Walk: February 2, 2018, 5pm-8pm
Sunday, February 11, 2018, 2pm: Artists’ talk with Susan Webster and Stu Kestenbaum
STRATA | SHOSHANNAH WHITE
STRATA includes photographs captured in Svalbard, Norway as well as cameraless prints made directly from glacier ice and coal. Ice, in glacier form, is melting, growing, compressing – holding planetary history in its transparent layers. Coal, dense, black and filled with carbon, compressed from ancient plant matter, contains energy from millions of years ago. Each material holds clues of the past – both formed by strata of time.
Shoshannah White is an interdisciplinary artist based in Portland, Maine. Her practice includes photography, painting, sculpture and public art installation. Her work is represented by Corey Daniels Gallery in Wells, Maine, Pilar Graves in Los Angeles, California, and by Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto.
WORK TOGETHER | SUSAN WEBSTER & STUART KESTENBAUM
Susan Webster and Stuart Kestenbaum envision their work as a partnership between image and word, where both are equals. Susan Webster is a visual artist who combines drawing and printmaking and other media. Carl Little has written, “Webster’s awareness of the preciousness of time on earth heightens both her personal sense of existence and the art she creates. Even as she acknowledges a ‘certain darkness, mystery, the unknown’ she celebrates life. In a manner of speaking, she wears her passion in her prints.”
Stuart Kestenbaum is the author of four books of poems, most recently Only Now (Deerbrook Editions) and is currently Maine’s poet laureate. Former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser has written “Stuart Kestenbaum writes the kind of poems I love to read, heartfelt responses to the privilege of having been given a life. No hidden agendas here, no theories to espouse, nothing but life, pure life, set down with craft and love.”
AUSCHWITZ | IMAGES OF RESILIENCE AND LIGHT | ARTHUR FINK
I’m best known as a photographer of dance. But what I really photograph is energy and emotion.
This exhibit has given me the opportunity to look inward for that emotion, as I’ve sought images of mine that suggest hope, possibility, and positive vision.
Some of the most hopeful images were these tiny drawings by children in several of the concentration camps – painstakingly copied by artists onto the plaster walls of a room at the Shoah exhibit at Auschwitz. As I photographed these tiny and faint scenes, I could see that these children, and I believe all children, were born with love, compassion, appreciation for their parents, and no understanding at all of the fate that awaited them. Other images in the exhibit offer different points of light. My vision is not just of what happened at Auschwitz, but also of human resilience throughout time.
One afternoon, after returning home from junior high school, I came upon a slender volume, placed with spline facing rear, on my parent’s book shelf. It was a volume commemorating the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, a volume that my father had art directed. The pictures of shoes, piles of gold teeth, and other crude images of the Holocaust were etched in my mind on that day. I’ve looked many times for that book, but never could find it again.
And then only recently, I was asked to accompany Martin Steingesser, Judith Tierney, and Robin Jellis on their pilgrimage to Auschwitz and Birkenau. The images my father had worked with were all there, closer to real life, and closer to my heart as I spent time there reflecting on my life, my faith, and my hope.
Exhibition: November 9, 2017 - January 7, 2018
Opening Reception: November 9, 2017 5pm-7pm
First Friday Art Walk: December 1, 2017, 5pm-8pm
Artifact and Artifice |Jeffrey Ackerman
Jeffrey Ackerman was born in Queens, NY, in 1963. He attended the State University of New York at Albany and Washington University, School of Fine Arts, in St. Louis. Jeffrey lived in New York City from 1984 to 2003, when he moved to Morrill, Maine.
Primarily a painter and sculptor, Jeffrey was also trained in furniture making, wood carving, conservation and restoration. His artwork has been exhibited in New York, Germany, Maine, and Provincetown, MA.
Jeffrey's professional experience includes museum period room installations at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Museum of the City of New York, as well as projects for private residences and collections. From 1995 to 2000 he was director of the Arader Gallery in New York City, specializing in art and antiques from the 16th to the 20th centuries.
Hours and Days | Kathy Weinberg
Fineberg Family Community Room
Kathy Weinberg was born in 1962, in Boston, MA. She received a BFA from Washington University, School of Fine Arts, in St.Louis, Mo., then was an assistant printer at Bob Blackburn's Printmaking Workshop in Manhattan. She lived in New York City from 1984 to 2003, spent summers in Maine through childhood, until she moved to Maine full-time in 2003.
Kathy is a painter, sculptor, and printmaker. Her artwork has been exhibited in New York, Germany, Maine, and Provincetown, MA. Her paintings were included in the 2016 CMCA Biennial.
Kathy's profession in antique and architectural restoration includes museum period room installation projects, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Museum of the City of New York, and private residences and collections. Working with antiques gives her artwork a familiarity with a historical visual language that combines with her personal artistic vision.
The Maine Jewish Museum is excited to present Deborah Klotz’s body of work “STILL.” The exhibition will be on view from September 15 through November 13, 2016. There will be an Opening Reception with the artist on Thursday, September 15, 2016 from 5pm to 7pm, an Artist Talk on Sunday October 30 at 2pm, and First Fridays – October 7th and November 4th. Admission is free.
The exhibit “STILL” shares the recent series of prints, drawings, and sculpture: Cast (Off /On/Away), Single Pair, and Compression/Compassion Stones from sculptor and image-maker, Deborah Klotz, who employs diverse materials and methods to design and fabricate her work.
“Garments from my immediate and extended family members are transformed through lamination between thin sheets of handmade paper, as fingerprint textures are revealed with graphite and pressure. The garments are dropped, floated, folded, thrown, and rolled. They expand and push against the borders of the paper holding them close. They speak of departure, growth, immense presence (corpus, the physical body), and its twin, the interior life of memory (absence). The garment works also describe a strategy both ancient and contemporary, both animal and human, of growth through the casting off or shedding of surfaces. Once laminated, the previously worn clothing holding movement, experience, and the physical form of the owner, becomes still, under a layer of paper.”
“Traces of structure form again through compression and intention. Using discarded paper, single stray socks, outgrown or well-worn favorite garments from my family, as well as screen printed moments drawn with crocheted metal wire, steel chain, and photograms of clothing silhouettes; I build while watching both the ground and the sky.”
Deborah Klotz holds an M.F.A in 3-Dimensional Art and a B.F.A. in Sculpture from Massachusetts College of Art, as well as a B.A. in English and American Literature from Brandeis University. Her work is in private and public collections in New England, Florida, California, Colorado, New York, Washington D.C., and internationally she has exhibited in Korea, Israel, and England.
Deborah received partial funding for initial stages of this project through the Maine Arts Commission Project Grant.
The exhibition will be on view from September 15 through November 13, 2016. There will be an Opening Reception with the artist on Thursday, September 15, 2016 from 5pm to 7pm, and First Fridays – October 7th and November 4th. Admission is free.
The focus of this exhibition is of famous artists such as Carol Chute, Harold Garde, Larry Rivers, plus several scenes of Paris and New York, includes remembrances of his roots in war torn Austria during the second World War.
Charles was a hidden child in WWII. His father was arrested in 1943 and sent to Auschwitz on Train 21 “Number 779” and gassed upon arrival. His visit to the camp was to pay homage to his father. Deep feelings emerge from these images that remind us to never forget the atrocities that took place.
“I have been a photographer as long as I can remember. I never had a studio although I worked as an assistant for years in New York City. My first job was with Allan Arbus who was then doing commercials and fashion. Dianne Arbus used to come into the studio to print. Robert Frank was an influence, as well as Harold Feinstein. In the 1970s I worked for art galleries and often went to the Cedar Bar in the village in New York. There I met many artists and writers from Jack Kerouac to Warhol to Larry Rivers and others. I did work with the Leo Castelli gallery.
I am mostly a street photographer. I do my best to be as true to what I see as possible. In Maine I meet artists like Harold Garde and Robert Indiana whom I knew when he had a studio in lower Manhattan. Like a flaneur I wander the streets and photograph what draws me, in a face, or the wonderment of a city like Paris or Portland.” Charles Rotmil
Photographs: Carolyn Chute.jpg, Harold gardeb&w.jpg, Larry Rivers.jpg