Stitch In Jewish Time
As the summer winds down and the holiday season begins, the Vered Gallery in East Hampton has mounted what namesake (Ruth) Vered termed her gallery’s “most important exhibit ever.” The opening night event for “A Stich in Jewish Time” was a highpoint of the art on the East End of Long Island during life Summer, 2011. The multi-media collection presents a series of commentaries on the Jewish experience.
Included in the exhibit are the works of several unique women photographers, including Ruth Gruber, Lili Almog, Karen Gillerbrand and Zeva Olelbaum. Gruber, a photojournalist nearing her 100th birthday, was both participant and observer of European Jewry from the 1930’s to the experiences of the refugees and the emerging State of Israel. Her images of survivors trapped aboard the Exodus provoked an international outcry at the time of their publication.
Lili Almog’s intensely personal photographs of women in mourning (her own sister and aunt are her subjects), offer a window into the universality of grief. “These are family portraits,” Almog told the Algemeiner. “They are a reflection on culture and memory, done after the death of my mother – a creation of art out of emotion.” (Almog’s mother died one year ago, September 3, 2010.)
The United Nations selected Karen Gillerman’s photograph of Jewish hands across the generations as the art for its Holocaust commemoration stamp. The hand of an infant grasps the arm of its great grandmother, whose death camp tattoo is clearly visible. Together, they rest on the blue and white of the Israeli Flag. Zeva Olelbaum evokes images of the immigrant experience in America using Yiddish newspapers, annotated with notes on “real” life. Her work is straight forward, providing a timeline to history.
Combined media -imaginations of the horror of the death camps eerily viewed through the eyes of visionary Theodore Herzl, are chilling, and so deeply sad. Jewish history, emotion, culture and color are depicted through a variety of fabric, pattern and symbolic garments and fabrics.
The museum quality exhibit is based on a concept that was originated by Laura Kruger at Hebrew Union College. The HUC exhibit concentrated on Jewish textiles, emphasizing pattern and texture. The moving and evocative exhibit will be mounted throughout the month of Elul at the Vered Gallery in East Hampton, New York. The collection has not found an opportunity to be shown in any major Jewish museum, several of which are said to have “turned down ‘the exhibit, denoting it as “just too Jewish.”
Two walls of the gallery are devoted to works which, when purchased, will provide funding for a teen theater/therapy project in Sderot. David Bedein directs the program. The majority of the works available for purchase-as-donation are gifts of gallery owners Janet Lehr and Ruth Vered, who have selected them from their personal collections.