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.
Current exhibits run from May 13th through June 24th
Chris Beneman’s work combines architectural details and fragmented images as a way to build a unique urban landscape. In the printmaking work she uses hand cut stencils and collagraph plates to create monoprints which are sometimes cut apart and reassembled. Working in a space between intention and improvisation, these new shapes often become new stencils to be printed on top of and through. The acrylic paintings in the exhibit are a more direct way of expressing the same intent and allow for a nuanced exploration of neutral tones.
Chris is a graduate of Bates College and has lived and worked in the Greater Portland area since 1981. She has studied printmaking at Haystack, MECA, Mass College of Art, Zea Mays Printmaking, Ballinglen Arts Foundation (Ireland) and the Icelandic Printmaking Association. She has been a member of the Peregrine Press in Portland since 2005 and is also a member of the Boston Printmakers and the Monotype Guild of New England. Her printmaking work was featured in the 2019 book Singular and Serial, Contemporary Monotype and Monoprint, Schiffer Publishing and is in numerous public and private collections.
Skowhegan School Artists
Fineberg Family Community Room
Juliet Karelsen, Guest Curator
The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Artists exhibition at The Maine Jewish Museum features the work of fifteen artists who have attended the internationally renowned school since its inception in 1946. Curated by artist, Skowhegan alumni and Maine resident Juliet Karelsen, the show will span a wide range of Skowhegan time and include work by alumni and faculty starting with the 1950’s and up to the present. The exhibit will showcase painting, video, mixed media, sculpture, fiber art, ceramics, and a site-specific sculpture created especially for the show. Artists included in the show: Alex Katz, Ben Shahn, Julianne Swartz, Neil Goldberg, Lauren Cohen, Abby Shahn, Juliet Karelsen, Natasha Mayers, Gail Spaien, Gina Siepel, Talia Levitt, Naomi Safran-Hon, Rachel Frank, Shadi Harouni and Alex Bradley Cohen.
This exhibition is funded in part by the generosity of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Judy Glickman Lauder, Patty Davidson Reef and The Maine Jewish Museum.
Jody S. Sataloff Art and History Pavilion
Tonee Harbert’s work considers human intervention on the landscape. This developing series from New Mexico invokes history and interpretation by looking at what remains from scenarios that once held meaning or utility. Any purpose imposed on the land leaves a mark which can show a past narrative. These signs/signals inhabit our everyday world, where collectively they can take on the surreal quality of a dream. In the New Mexico landscape the three marks of existence (from Buddhism) come to mind — impermanence, emptiness and imperfection. Harbert uses a 1960’s vintage plastic “Diana” film camera to capture scenes which resonate with his own interpretation of, and experience of moving through the world.
Tonee Harbert, grew up in Oregon, and has lived most of his life in Maine. His photography has been exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery, Portland Museum of Art, Farnsworth Art Museum, Danforth Museum of Art, ICA at Maine College of Art, and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. He’s been awarded a New England Emmy award, his work has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, and in books and motion pictures. He is currently based in Roswell, NM.