The Past is Present
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.”
Falling into Place
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.)
These works of art are for sale …for further information call Nancy Davidson (curator) 207-239-4774
Sadly, 2018 Maine Jewish Hall of Fame Inaugural Inductee Bernard Lown, passed away at 99 on Feb 16, 2021.
The Museum Board and the Hall of Fame Induction Committee sends it deepest condolences to his family.
May his memory be a blessing.
Exhibition Opening Scheduled for Thursday, February 4, 2021
We are happy to announce the Maine Jewish Museum is opening after months of renovation due to a fire this past Spring. We are also celebrating the 100th anniversary of the creation of Etz Chaim Synagogue which houses the Maine Jewish Museum. “Mixing It Up” will be our first exhibition in the newly renovated space. This exhibition of 10 artists will be held in the Spiegel Gallery and Fineberg Community Room. We will also have a photography exhibit by Jan Pieter van Voorst van Beest, on the third floor in the newly dedicated Jody S. Sataloff Art and History Pavilion.
As you can see from the photos, demolition is well underway throughout the Museum. We have hired great craftsmen to lovingly restore the Ark (Chris Coose and Chris Considine), replace the flooring (Andy Walsh), and restore the amazing stained glass window over the Ark (Matthew Kendall), while our general contractor oversees the entire project. We are most fortunate to have Licensed Architect Curt Sachs as our Owner’s Representative and thank him for his volunteering to fill this important role.
Please click the link below to make a donation to the Etz Chaim Synagogue/Maine Jewish Museum Fire Restoration and Operating Fund, and you will play a key role in ensuring that these two organizations and this historic building will be here for all to enjoy for another 100 years!
Be well, be safe, and thank you for your consideration.
Mark Aranson, President of Etz Chaim Synagogue
Rabbi Gry Berenson
Steve Brinn, President of the Maine Jewish Museum
The Maine Jewish Museum Board of Directors has recently voted to name the third floor of the Museum the Jody S Sataloff Art and History Pavillion in honor of Jody’s tireless leadership, creative vision and generosity of spirit!
Jody, the founding President of the Museum, has stepped down from the Board after 12 years serving as a founding Board member. We will greatly miss her wise counsel, her great insight and her willingness to help at all times, whenever time, ideas or resources were needed.
We are greatly in your debt for making the Museum what it is today. A ceremony will be held at the Museum when the time is right to honor Jody and we hope you can all attend!
Portland Press Herold
By BOB KEYES