Join us for our new exhibition featuring
Gerry Holzman, Penelope Jones,
& Michelle Hauser
Exhibitions run March 25
through May 7, 2021
Welcome to the Maine Jewish Museum, located in Portland’s East End neighborhood. The museum is housed within the restored Etz Chaim Synagogue, a turn-of-the-century house of worship. The museum has been the venue for contemporary art exhibitions for the past eight years. These exhibitions, which change every six weeks, feature established, Jewish-connected, and Maine-connected artists.
Exhibiting Maine’s Jewish artists links our Jewish artists to Maine’s rich artistic history and highlights their place in Maine’s exciting contemporary art scene which includes but is not at all limited to the following: Winslow Homer, the Monhegan Island and Ogunquit artist colonies, Colby College Museum of Art, Haystack Mountain on Deer Isle, Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, Skowhegan School of Painting, and the Portland Museum of Art. We are thrilled to display the artists chosen by Curator Nancy Davidson and Photography Curator Nanci Kahn and share it with you!
The museum also houses Jack Montgomery’s photo exhibit of Holocaust survivors who settled in Maine as well as a permanent exhibition of Maine Jewish History.
All the works exhibited are for sale. Whether you live a few blocks away or across the county, take home a piece of Maine’s Jewish contemporary art with you.
For further information call Nancy Davidson (curator) 207-239-4774
Gerry Holzman – Artist in Wood
In the late 1990’s, while conducting a personal and intellectual exploration of my long-neglected Eastern European roots, I came across the photographs of Roman Vishniac, a chronicler of Jewish life in pre-World War II Europe. The powerful and provocative photographs in Vishniac’s book, A VANISHED WORLD, affected me profoundly. I was particularly impressed by the portraits of the various artisans–the blacksmiths, the cobblers, the carpenters–and by the bearded scholars with their long flowing coats and their omnipresent books.
For the past twenty years, I have been recording my response to this extraordinary experience. My responses in wood are unlike anything seen before. In some carvings, I have faithfully copied the individuals portrayed in the various photographic records but have placed them in an entirely different setting. In others, I have extracted the figures from within the raw walnut logs where they have dwelt for centuries. In a few pieces, I have simply presented the viewer with the vague outline of a provocative notion.
While these carvings present a window into a world that disappeared in the 20th century, I like to think my work in the 21st century offers vivid proof of Roman Vishniac’s conviction that this vanished world was definitely not a vanquished one. And perhaps, it reinforces an even more important message—“We’re still here.”
Fineberg Family Community Room
Penelope Jones embraces architectural structure, surface texture, and color interaction in this exhibition of paintings, drawings, and collages. Her work is inspired by such disparate sources as Ukiyo-e Japanese paintings, boat slip structures, the snaking streams of Maine estuaries, and architectural details from the Alhambra Palace in Spain. She takes great pleasure in precise lines, angular and curved shapes, and spatial ambiguity.
Born and raised in upstate NY, Penelope Jones received a BFA from MECA and an MFA from Cornell University. After a stint living and working in Boston, she moved back to Maine, where she resides and exhibits her work. Since 1992 she has taught visual arts at Cornell University, Bowdoin College, Maine College of Art, University of Southern Maine and SMCC. She has been a part-time lecturer at Bates College for over 20 years.
Jody S. Sataloff Art & History Pavilion
Meeting Hall Maine records for posterity the documentation of hundreds of meeting halls found throughout the state. This photographic project began in collaboration with Hauser’s late husband, Andrew S. Flamm (1967-2018). Hauser has continued on with their shared vision to adhere to centered compositions of frontal, side or back views and to sequence the typology of structures into groups. Grids and pairings invite comparison and also create an abstraction of architectural forms. At some sites three-quarter views of the halls were captured to evoke the experience of place. The exhibition also includes work that appropriates signifiers used in ritual activities taking place inside the meeting halls.
In 1981, Hauser forged lasting ties to Maine at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, leading her to return to Maine to paint, using a former Odd Fellows Hall in Mount Vernon. The hall served as an inspiration. Extending her studio time there was the catalyst for winning a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. It was where she and Andrew Flamm first met. They went on to open Odd Fellows Art and Antiques that specialized in vernacular photography and the Material Culture of American Fraternal Organizations which in turn sparked their idea for Meeting Hall Maine.
(Meeting Hall Maine is funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.)