Arts and Culture | Local

Tucson J exhibit reveals many ‘Spiritual Voices’

‘Picasso Revisited,’ stained glass by Bob Samson

The Tucson Jewish Community Center will present “Spiritual Voices,” a juried art show, Nov. 30-Jan. 10. The exhibit will include 20 Jewish artists from Southern Arizona.

‘Portrait of a Man’s Soul,’ mixed media by Eli Langner (Courtesy Aimee Smythe)

Local artists Aimee Smythe and Lisa Mishler are the curators of “Spiritual Voices.” Both women have participated in numerous art shows throughout the years, including curated and juried exhibits. Mishler, also a writer, has published two books about the Holocaust.

The exhibit is “unique in that it unites the works through each artist’s interpretation of the term ‘spiritual voices,’ which is a new prompt for our gallery,” says Barbara Fenig, Tucson J director of arts and culture.

Fenig began working at the J in January 2017, taking over the position from Lynn Davis, who juried the show. Davis is now executive director of the Sonoran Glass School in Tucson.

“Transformation” necklac
by Laurie Sherman

Featured artists include Laurie Sherman, daughter of songwriter Robert B. Sherman, with her “Transformation” necklace. “That word [‘transformation’] means many things to me, spiritually,” she says. Sherman credits her early training in Reform Judaism as the beginnings of her spiritual journey, refined through prolonged contact with an Aboriginal woman and jewelry maker in Western Australia. Her main jewelry line, SatyaRising, includes a Disney-inspired collection called “Walt’s Time” and a Judaica collection. Her father and uncle wrote the scores for “Mary Poppins,” “Charlotte’s Web” and other beloved films, as well as the well-known “It’s a Small World (After All).”

“Road to Enlgihtenment,” weaving by Margery Langner

“I live in Tucson because of the Catalina Mountains,” says Margery Langner of her woven piece “Catalina Sunset.” She and her husband, Eli Langner, will each present artwork in “Spiritual Voices.” Langner’s contribution includes another woven work titled “Road to Enlightenment.” Eli features his own eclectic brand of multi-media art in “Portrait of a Man’s Soul,” which uses video projected behind a transparent face. The Langners teamed up in 1989 to form Original Design Huppah, a company that creates custom fabric marriage canopies.

Bob Samson credits the Arizona sunshine for inspiring his stained glass creations, which he creates with the help of his wife, Karen. “What better way to capture the brilliance of the indomitable sun than by transmitting it through colored glass,” he says. His pieces in the exhibit reinterpret well-known paintings: Vincent Van Gogh’s “Bedroom in Arles” and Pablo Picasso’s “The Reader.”

Other featured artists are Nancy Charak, Jacqueline Cohen, Roberta Elliott, Bobbie Goodman, Lauri Kaye, Lynn Rae Lowe, Jere Moskovitz, Nancy Norton, Sherrie Posternak, Lily Rosenberg, Peggy Rubin, Karen Samson, Naomi Spitzer, Julie Szerina Stein, Beth Surdut, and Boni Weinstein.

An opening reception for “Spiritual Voices” will be held Sunday, Dec. 3, 2-4 p.m. For more information, call 299-3000.

Brenda Goldstein is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles.