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Indepth Arts News:

"A Jewish Portrait Gallery: Questions of Seeing and Looking"
2005-01-08 until 2005-03-04
Workmens Cirle: A Shenere Velt Gallery
Los Angeles, CA, USA United States of America

How does a Jew look? This is the question the new show in A Shenere Velt Gallery poses. In A Jewish Portrait Gallery the grammar is deliberately ambiguous. Are the subjects of the paintings necessarily Jews? "What does a Jew look like?" Or are the artists all Jewish? "How does a Jew see the world?" Or is it the Gallery itself that is Jewish? "How does a Jewish artspace show its face to the world?" This is an invitational exhibition - many of the artists have previously shown at the Workmen's Circle gallery,

Included works are by Laurel Paley, with her intriguing semi-abstractions, Lucille Dratler and Gabriella Karin, whose art is inspired by Holocaust survivorship, and Ilse Gordon, whose moody faces evoke pre-war Vienna and modern, intellectual Jewish femaleness. Others who have shown before include Gloria Moses, Lucy Blake-Elahi, Michele Benzamin-Miki, Pat Berger, Lynette Mathis, and others. Barbara Mendes, whose one-woman show opened the Gallery in 1996, has "At Last" in the show, a romantic self-portrait based on a cross-country road trip she took in 2003.

The late well-known Los Angeles artist Boris Deutsch is represented by a deliberately Chagall-like "Village Fiddler," a soulful, meditative vision of life in the Jewish shtetl, the whimsical lines of the figures reflecting back at the viewer a nostalgia for a vision of Jewishness that might never have existed. Franceil Masi‚s "The Seamstress" evokes a different kind of nostalgia, for the sweatshop stories of crowded European cities or the Lower East Side.

Various artists new to A Shenere Velt have been invited to show as well, including Aaron No One, whose fleeting photographic self-portraits betray an edgy, Generation X consciousness and Emily Bowen Cohen's loving, humorous portrait of her grandfather who "loves NYC."

In various media, in many styles, and with a very broad price range making contemporary Jewish art affordable to virtually every budget, A Jewish Portrait Gallery will appeal to the artist, viewer and subject in everyone.

A Shenere Velt Gallery is part of The Workmen‚s Circle/Arbeter Ring, which has been active in Southern California since 1908, dedicated to Jewish culture and social justice.

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