Spiritual Threads-Judaic Fiber Art
 
Ita Aber
Temma Gentles
Leslie A. Golomb
Judy Herzl
Jet Naftaniel-JoŽls
Debra Olin
Louise Silk
Saskia Weishut


Besides politics, Judaism hits the limelight in our current show focusing on Judaic Fiber Art. And just like Vice Presidential candidate Lieberman, the work may have a Jewish theme but it appeals to universal spirituality. We have gathered eight prestigious Artists from around the world who combine skill and culture in unique interpretive works of art that explore religious and spiritual themes.

Louise Silk (PA, USA) uses the traditional fiber format of the quilt as a canvas for illustrating chuppahs (wedding canopies) with aspects of Jewish identity. Leslie Golomb (PA, USA) finds humor in depicting Jewish daily life on common, everyday kitchen objects. In collaboration, Golumb and Silk (finalists in the Spertus 2000 competition) create emotional reminders of personal Judaic history to counteract increasing assimilation and Anti-Semitism. Even in these extremely personal commissions, their work touches a chord in all of us.

Saskia Weishut (Amsterdam, Holland) captures the rhythms and patterns of historical Jewish life in her "peintisseries (a blend of peinture and tapisserie). Her work evokes a nostalgia for a simpler time that was full of ritual and tight communal life.

Debra Olin (MA, USA), influenced by her family's objects, also uses her art to examine and help understand lost fragments from the past. She uses her deceased grandmother's garments to metaphorically embody her heritage and connect with past Jewish life.

Ita Aber (NY, USA) is an historian and specialist in Judaic needlework. Her book, The Art of Judaic Needlework still remains the definitive resource. Her work reflects a true love of the medium. Fun and fanciful, her Purim masks portray a modern twist on the traditional ritual object.

Jet Naftaniel-JoŽls (Amstelveen, The Netherlands) often puts objects of Jewish ritual into surprising installations. While floating yarmulkes may seem bizarre, when you realize they relate to segregated women in traditional synagogue balconies (overlooking men wearing colorful yarmulkes), they take on an ironic feminist statement.

Judy Herzl (NM, USA) contrasts the material presence of fiber to the remote quality of the photographic image. Her voyeuristic pieces deal with fragments of past worlds and memories including serious Jewish themes such as the Holocaust. Significantly, Herzl's work has meaning for all of us who have suffered loss.

In collaboration with Dorothy Ross, Temma Gentles (Toronto, Canada) has just won the prestigious 2000 Spertus Award (the resulting exhibition runs until Feb, 2001 at the Spertus Museum in Chicago). Gentles' rich and opulent work exemplifies her belief in hiddur mitzvah -the beautification of an object to encourage fulfillment of religious commandments.

We intend the diverse and creative work in this show to challenge the term "Jewish Fiber Art."

Many of these artists accept commissions from synagogues and individuals. Please contact us for more information.



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