OREGON JEWISH MUSEUM EXHIBITS NEW WORK BY ARTIST SARA HARWIN
Illuminated Letters explores the intersection between art and language
The Oregon Jewish Museum (OJM) at 1953 NW Kearney St. in Portland presents Illuminated Letters: Threads of Connection, featuring new work by Portland artist Sara Harwin, from February 5 – April 20, 2014. OJM will host an opening reception on Wednesday, February 5, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Exhibition gallery hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Friday from 10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. The opening reception is free and open to the public. Museum admission is $6 for adults, $4 for students and seniors, and free for members and children under 12 accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Sara Harwin conceived of the Illuminated Letters project in 2007 to express her long-time fascination with the intersection between art and language. Inspired by traditional Jewish techniques of uncovering layers of meaning in sacred texts, Illuminated Letters both describes and enacts an artistic process of translating traditional Jewish texts into images. The installation’s imagery derives from Hebrew word-roots found in classically significant lines of Torah. Harwin utilizes diverse techniques, including acrylic painting, paper cuts and fiber art.
Harwin’s career has spanned more than 40 years of continuous productivity. She has earned widespread recognition for her work across a variety of media in the realms of both fine art and ritual and ceremonial art. Her work invites viewers to experience beauty, celebration, movement and transcendence.
The accompanying exhibit, Illuminated Manuscripts: A Living History, includes rare volumes on loan from Mt. Angel Abbey, Mark O. Hatfield Library, Willamette University, and John Wilson Special Collections of Multnomah County Library. Illuminated Manuscripts continues Harwin’s exploration of the relationship between language and art showing the way in which text and illustration in medieval manuscripts functioned as a single language to communicate the meaning of the text. Featured manuscripts will include a Book of Hours, a Bible, a Breviary and a Psalter all from between the 13th and 15th centuries.
Illuminated Letters: Threads of Connection received funding from the Regional Arts & Culture Council and the Schnitzer Supporting Foundation of the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation.
In addition to the opening reception, accompanying events related to Illuminated Letters include:
- Illuminated Manuscripts—Wednesday, March 12, 7:00pm
Price: General Public: $10; OJM Members $8; Students $5
Presentations by Kenneth Helphand, Knight Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Oregon, and William Diebold, Professor of Art History, Reed College
- Artist Talk—Sunday, February 16, 12noon
Free with Museum Admision
Sara Harwin will speak about the genesis of her exhibit, Illuminated Letters: Threads of Connection. A light brunch will be served.
- OM Shalom! Kirtan Chanting with J.D. Kleinke, Rabbi Ariel Stone & Friends—
Sunday, April 6, 3:00pm
Price: General Public: $10; OJM Members:$8; Students $5
Jewish kirtan is an adaptation of the ancient Hindu practice of sacred communal singing. Kirtan is a call-and-response form of devotional music, native to India but now popular around the world in many blends - and an important part of traditional yogic practice. OM Shalom will include a collection of songs created or adapted for Jewish kirtans in Portland yoga studios and an occasional Shabbat service at Portland's Congregation Shir Tikvah.
The Oregon Jewish Museum (OJM), conveniently located in Northwest Portland, is the Pacific Northwest’s only Jewish museum. The OJM examines and preserves the rich cultural heritage of one of Oregon’s earliest immigrant groups. The OJM is a community-wide gathering place, an important repository of communal history, the narrator of the story of the Oregon Jewish experience and the host of innovative traveling exhibitions. The OJM seeks to stimulate dialogue about identity, culture and assimilation, and to provide opportunities for Jews and non-Jews alike to understand the Jewish experience.