published Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Flying High: Exhibition looks at wings in a 'spiritual context'

"Beneath Thy Wings," created by Flora Rosefsky, an Atlanta-based artist, is on loan from Shema Yisrael Synagogue.
"Beneath Thy Wings," created by Flora Rosefsky, an Atlanta-based artist, is on loan from Shema Yisrael Synagogue.
  • photo
    This piece was created by area artist Anne Thomas.

IF YOU GO

* What: "Wings"

* When: Aug. 14-Sept. 29; meet-the-artist reception at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

* Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday.

* Where: Jewish Cultural Center, 5461 North Terrace Road.

* Admission: Free.

* Information: 493-0270.

Wings are longtime favorites of artists; they carry us to something, away from something; they allow us to soar.

Winged animals use them to protect offspring and to keep them warm and dry. Angels and mythological gods have wings and so, too, demons and dragons.

Depictions of wings and their "spiritual context" will be on display this month in the latest exhibit at the Jewish Cultural Center in Brainerd, according to program director Ann Treadwell. Titled, appropriately, "Wings," the exhibition features works by 29 artists from the Southeast United States and Israel and includes quilts, prints, photographs, drawings and paintings.

"In each of the selected images there is a spiritual context," says Treadwell. "The context can be metaphysical, down-home country or an interpretation of Torah."

Flora Rosefsky, an Atlanta-based mixed-media artist, submitted four pieces. The largest, a collage called "Beneath Thy Wings," was created for a synagogue in Atlanta to be displayed during Yom Kippur. It is on loan for the "Wings" exhibit.

"It's a very large bird and underneath are these five candles that are memorial candles that we like to think of people who have died in your family or in the world," she says.

Rosefsky's collages can feature found pieces like fabric or a receipt, paper she's created or purchased materials. The three other pieces in the exhibit are from her series on birds.

"I call them songs-of-praise birds. They are metaphors for praising God," she says. "This came from a very ancient text written 3,000 years ago called 'Nature's Song.' It's group of essays that were found in a cave. Whoever wrote it took nature and birds and animals and trees and wrote these stories about how they were metaphors for ethical behavior."

"Beneath Thy Wings" was inspired by a favorite prayer from a Jewish prayer book, Rosefsky says.

"The line is 'shelter us beneath thy wings to keep us safe throughout the night,'" she says. "I just love that prayer. It's like a comfortable feeling of protection."

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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