Imagined Israel: Mixed Media Paintings by Fran Gallun
December 2012 - April 2013
About the Exhibit:
Exhibit Review on ArtBlog
genesis of this work is in trips to Israel in 1998, 2006 and 2007, when
I had the wonderful opportunity to do art work and travel around a bit.
my work changed in response to the landscape, the light, and the
powerful sensation of being in the land. Prior to this, I was interested
in Jewish text and symbols, but working there led me to a different,
Returning to work in the studio, the landscapes
became simplified to horizontal strips: the sky, hills, terraced
hillsides, earth, and water became layers of time, history,
civilizations past; forming anew, passing away again in the earth’s
In 2009 a friend in Israel asked if I would accept a
package of old photographs which his mother had taken as a new
immigrant in the 70’s, as he didn’t have the heart to discard them.
of small faded photos arrived, and I was daunted. They waited in the
studio, ignored, but their time came when I used them to make a wedding
gift for our friend’s daughter. Cutting them into smaller pieces and
combining them with my own materials, they became magical. "Imagined
Israel: Mixed Media Paintings" shows the newest work, my thoughts about
these many layers, strata, and meanings both hidden and revealed. You
will also see their predecessors, the long narrow landscapes, some done
in Israel during the 2006 journey. As you see, these horizons of
landscape became stacked one on top of the other, and became bigger,
denser layers of landscape which I create and unearth at the same time,
feeling at times like an archeologist, always plumbing another depth.
It is a pleasure and an honor to share these works with you.
Immanence: The Art of Tobi Kahn - 1987-2012
August 1 - December 1, 2012
Exhibition Catalogue Available for purchase ($15)
Philadelphia Museum of Jewish Art is delighted to welcome back Tobi
Kahn, internationally acclaimed as a painter and sculptor. In Tobi
Kahn's 1987 show at the PMJA, Chosen Spaces - Chosen Objects, a
series of abstract landscape paintings of Israel and his mysterious and
spiritual wooden Judaica were on exhibit. His work has been shown in
over 40 solo shows and over 60 museum and group shows since he was
selected as one of nine artists to be included in the 1985 Guggenheim
Museum exhibition, "New Horizons in American Art."
thirty years, Kahn has been steadfast in the pursuit of his distinct
vision and persistent in his commitment to the redemptive possibilities
of art. In pain, stone, and bronze, he has explored the correspondence
between the intimate and monumental. While his early works drew on the
tradition of American Romantic landscape paintings, his more recent
pieces reflect his fascination with contemporary science, inspired by
the micro-images of cell formations and satellite photography.
The New Sacred: Ritual Textiles by Rachel Kanter
March 29 - July 23, 2012
The New Sacred: Ritual Textiles by Rachel Kanter looks at ritual through the Home, Synagogue and Community. In Kanter’s art the kitchen is considered a mikdash me’at, (a little sanctuary) and the table becomes an alter. Her ritual tablecloths are to be used on the dining table in order to create a sacred space for giving thanks to God while strengthening the connection between the food we eat and the farmers that grow it. The tallit (prayer shawls) Rachel Kanter creates are to be used for prayer in the synagogue. She has created something sacred and holy that is also completely new and modern. The tallitot are inspired by the four cornered robes worn by the priests in biblical times and are designed using vintage apron patterns from the 20th century. While steeped in Jewish text, history and tradition, Kanter’s ritual garments are also entirely modern.
Kanter’s “Spiritual Mikveh” uses fabric to create a new ritual. Just as a traditional mikveh (ritual bath) is shared by a community, a “Spiritual Mikveh” is also used and shared by a community. When getting to an actual mikveh is not possible or desired, it creates a personal, sacred space out of fabric during a new, non-traditional mikveh ceremony. It is used to mark life-changing events and acknowledges that moment in time when you are alone with God: asking, pleading and thanking God for strength and understanding.
Each of the objects examines history and tradition through a contemporary lens, embeds new meaning and provides a fresh interpretation of “ritual.”
Exhibit organized by Wendi Furman, Director of the PMJA
Carnival City: the Wondrous Art of Esther Hamerman
December 1, 2011 - March 19, 2012
With drawings by her great grand daughter Nicole Eisenman - An Intergenerational Exhibit
Exhibit invited by and partially funded by Joan C. Sall, Director Emerita, PMJA.
About The Exhibit
Born in 1886 in a village outside of Krakow, Poland, Esther Hamerman raised a family in Vienna before fleeing the Nazis to the Americas, arriving in New York in 1944. Hamerman began painting late in life and unexpectedly found success as a nationally-known folk artist. Painting with her canvas flat on a table, surrounded by postcards, newspapers, snacks, and a lifetime of memories, she heartily enjoyed making pictures. Hamerman’s larger paintings are intricate images seemingly woven from sources as disparate as Caribbean carnivals and Jewish weddings, I Love Lucy and football, cable cars and steamships.
Nicole Eisenman grew up admiring her great-grandmother Hamerman, affectionately called Mutti, whose art hung throughout Eisenman’s family home in suburban New York. Born in 1965, Eisenman has become an influential contemporary American painter, freely mixing art history, feminism, and punk in edgy yet gorgeously painted canvases. It is a startling realization that an artist known as a “bad girl” in the 1990s is enamored with Hamerman’s deceptively simple technique of layering oil paint and ink drawing. Hamerman’s pictorial style possesses an integrity springing from the everyday handicraft and symbolic storytelling that have enriched Jewish life for centuries.
The felicitous pairing of fourteen Hamerman paintings from the 1950s and five new Eisenman drawings creates a delightful intergenerational dialogue. Both artists paint richly detailed, colorful, and often humorous compositions. Their scale ranges from the incidental moment to the sweep of history. Carnival City, the first exhibition of Hamerman’s art on the East Coast in over two decades, shows how her paintings continue to be a touchstone, providing a solid legacy and a challenge to invent.