Eight artists are drawing from their past to honor the Jewish New Year in a show at the Columbia City Gallery in South Seattle.
`Drawing in the New Year: Exploring memory and ancestry at the Jewish New Year,` is a warm and powerful tribute to the essence of all that is Jewish ` beloved ancestors, sacred texts, practical wisdom, the pain of loss and the everyday resourcefulness of family members they love.
Located in the guest gallery, a partitioned space the size of a large walk-in closet to the left of the main gallery entrance are pieces by Rachel Brumer, Isabel Kahn, Karen Kosoglad, Sherry Markovitz, Deborah Mersky, Ellen Sollod, Selma Waldman and Marc Wenet. Each of the eight works has a personal and poignant tone.
`Most group shows don`t unify and hold together like this,` said Kosoglad, one of the show`s curators, about the way the each artist`s work complemented the others`, creating a mood in the small room.
Kosoglad dedicated her work, `My Pops`, to the memory of her father, who died in a car accident five years ago.
The two framed pieces, one placed above the other, feature sheet music and wood block typesetting letters, elements from a collection of objects that he left her. Kosoglad used collage, mixed media and print-making techniques in her pieces that also display used stenopads that belonged to her father, thereby incorporating his own handwriting into the art.
`This is where I was at in my artwork, but we had all this in common,` she said.
In honor of his own father, Marc Wenet created `Wild Harvest,` a piece in which he celebrates the connection to the earth that his father instilled in him.
`He was always into gardening,` Wenet said. `He would pick seeds from plants, store them in the garage and then plant them in the spring.`
A second piece by Wenet, `Black Hand,` is a more abstract reflection on a serious, two-year-old injury to his hand that he received in a bicycle accident.
Both pieces use wood and iron materials. This, said Wenet, is most reminiscent of his father`s ways.
`I just really appreciate my roots and I feed off of them all the time,` he said. `My grandfather was a junk man and my father was a high school art teacher. I was brought up with stuff. I always like to include my dad in these shows that have a Jewish background. It`s a way of celebrating the gain that you got from them. To me, stuff always has possibility.`
Five of the artists have previously shown their Jewish-related artwork together ` once at the Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C. and in another show at the Washington State Trade and Convention Center in Downtown Seattle.
Coming together for the show at the Columbia City Gallery reflects a strong Jewish presence in the revitalized Seattle neighborhood as well as the surrounding communities in South Seattle.
`We bring new and different people into the gallery giving the community a place to show their work,` said Lori Duckstein, president of the gallery`s artists collective, a group of 27 artists from the South End.
`Our area is home to quite a large Jewish population with the presence of three, good-sized synagogues,` said Duckstein. `The Jewish community was one of those groups that we felt should be represented artistically in the community.`
The Columbia City Gallery is supported by member dues, art sales and grants from SEED, the Southeast Effective Development, a nonprofit community development corporation.
`We are trying to be unique so that visitors will get a new viewpoint,` she added. `We expect that visitors to the gallery will learn something about Jewish heritage.`
At its core, the gallery is a group of six to eight artists who came together to help revitalize Columbia City. Since opening in their current location in 2004, they have been part of the monthly First Friday Artwalk in the trendy enclave filled with restaurants and nightclubs. The gallery also displays and sells jewelry, prints, cards, sculpture and glass from local artists.
`We want to represent the most broad range of cultures that we can,` said Duckstein. `This is the most culturally diverse area in Seattle.`