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Green Valley synagogue gallery to display Tucson artist’s ‘Sacred Intention’

‘Mazal Tov’ by Marlene Burns. ‘Most often used when offering congratulations or wishing good luck, Mazal Tov has a deeper message. Mazal means an alignment of the stars. Our tradition sees our mazal as the influence of the stars trickling down on us,’ says Burns. (Marlene Burns)

The Beth Shalom Temple Center Art Gallery will present “Sacred Intention” by Tucson artist and educator Marlene Burns, Feb. 1-April 1.   

A reception with the artist will be held at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 3, following the temple’s monthly
bagel breakfast.

Burns has been a professional artist for more than 50 years. She apprenticed in Cleveland, Ohio, in sanctuary art while earning two fine art degrees from the University of Cincinnati School of Design, Architecture and Art. Her career in art has included consultation, teaching, gallery affiliation, and a successful business creating custom art for clients and working in the design community. Her accomplishments include feature articles, cover art for many journals and the book “Sacred Intention.” She has exhibited at many galleries on the East Coast, Arizona and Israel.

The show at BSTC will be her first exhibit at
a synagogue.

“Two of my greatest passions in life are painting and Jewish education; both involve study, practice, devotion, and communication. For most of my life, I have pursued each passion separately. In 2009, I set out on a journey with sacred intention to blend the two together. Twenty-five paintings later, I have visually expressed some of our most cherished prayers and written accompanying texts to explain them,” says Burns.

The inspiration for Burns’ Judaic series of paintings includes Hebrew prayers, psalms, proverbs and holidays. She prepares for each painting with study, then chants or sings the prayer while her abstract expressionist process unfolds. Most of her symbols are hidden. Translations and explanations of the prayers and her artistic process accompany each painting.

“The sacred intention with which one prays is kavanah,” she says. “The kavanah with which I approach each prayer matches the intention used to create. This series is a marriage of my passion for painting and Judaism, producing the most inspiring work of
my career.”

There will be original paintings, embellished giclées on stretched canvas, fine art cards and limited availability framed reproductions for sale through the artist. Her book, “Sacred Intention,” also will be available
for sale.

Burns’ exhibit may be viewed at Beth Shalom Temple Center, 1751 N. Rio Mayo in Green Valley, on Mondays and Fridays, 10 a.m-2 p.m., and Wednesdays, noon-4 p.m. For questions, call the temple at 648-6690. For more information about the artist, visit