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Today's notices

  • Online Exhibition: Per Astera by Malaika Z Charbonneau

    Location: Saskatoon, SK

    Malaika Z Charbonneau exhibits her latest markings, using paint and canvas to explore..
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  • “10th Anniversary” Online Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for a..
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  • 15th Solo Art Series – Online Solo Art Exhibition Opportunity

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces its 15th “Solo Art Series”..
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  • 2020 Social Distancing Exhibition

    Location: Vancouver, BC

    $1,000 in Artist Prizes. We know, you’re stuck at home. While many are stocking..
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  • 10th Annual

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • Call for Art - 5th Annual Animal Kingdom Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 5th Annual Animal Kingdom online art competition. For..
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  • Call for Art - Still Life Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for its 14th Quarterly Art Competition – Still Life. For..
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  • National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society 2020 Spring Online International Exhibition

    Location: , ON

    $4500 in Awards - The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) invites..
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  • Beacon Original Art Spring Show & Sale

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Annual spring 2-day art show and sale with different artists in attendance each..
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  • Nooks & Crannies Outdoor Art Festival: Call to Artists

    Location: Okotoks, AB

    Okotoks Culture seeks proposals from artists to create temporary public art installations in..
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  • BORDERS - ITSLIQUID International Art and Architecture Festival

    Location: Venice,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS BORDERS | Venice July-Nov 2020 ITSLIQUID International Art and Architecture Festival Deadline:..
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  • Acrylic Painting Workshop with Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki

    Location: North Vancouver, BC

    April 4/5 2020. Learn how to quickly develop rich colour and surface in..
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  • $550.00 Innovate Grants — Call for Artists + Photographers

    Location: , NY

    Innovate Grant is now accepting submissions for the Spring 2020 Cycle. Innovate Grant..
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  • CALL FOR ARTISTS: CANVAS International Art Fair

    Location: London, UK,

    CANVAS International Art Fair THE LINE Gallery, London | May 07 – October 30,..
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  • 27th Lemonville Group of Artists Show and Sale

    Location: Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON

    Please join The Lemonville Group of Artists for their 27th Annual Art Show..
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  • “Sensuality” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline April 30, 2020

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: A glance, touch, dance, flower, scent or piece of chocolate can..
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  • Artwork Shipping Scam

    Location: , AB

    This week an artist on our site was corresponding via email with an..
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  • Geoff Farnsworth: Colour Worker

    Location: Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

    Join the Niagara Pumphouse for the opening reception for the exhibition entitled, “Geoff..
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  • Call for Entries: Art at the Pumphouse

    Location: Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

    The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre is now accepting applications for participation in Art..
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  • Exaltation : Niagara Pumphouse Instructors' Exhibition

    Location: Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

    Niagara Pumphouse is proud to host the Instructors’ Exhibition as its first show..
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  • Art, Wine, Interior Design Show

    Location: Winnipeg, MB

    Art, Wine, Interior Design Show! Exhibitor opportunities for Visual artists, Interior Designers and Wineries. Finding..
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  • National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society 2020 Spring Online International Exhibition

    Location: , ON

    The National Oil & Acrylic Painters’ Society (NOAPS) invites oil and acrylic painters..
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  • Love At First Sight

    Location: Regina, SK

    Love At First Sight / Regina Art Collective members: Dave Gedjos / DeLee Grant..
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  • In Other Words

    Location: Regina, SK

    In Other Words / Regina Art Collective members: Nikki Jacquin / Derek Olson / Mark..
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  • CALL FOR ARTISTS: VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2020

    Location: Venice,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS: VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2020 Venice | April 09 – May..
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  • CALL FOR ARTISTS: THE EXTENDED BODY 2020

    Location: London,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS: THE EXTENDED BODY – MIXING CULTURES ITSLIQUID International Art Exhibition THE..
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  • Appreciation of the Arts

    Location: London, ON

    Three day art and music event to recognize local artists in London, Ontario...
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  • Call to Artists - 2020 Sooke Fine Arts Show

    Location: Sooke, BC

    Artists are invited to submit work for consideration to the 2020 Sooke Fine..
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  • ACAF (Accessible Art Fair) 2020

    Location: Brussels,

    ACAF (Accessible Art Fair) is back on October 15-18, 2020 for its 14th..
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  • Call For Artists: The Other Art Fair Toronto

    Location: Toronto, ON

    The Other Art Fair are thrilled to present the newest edition of The..
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  • Marlene Kawalez and Corynn Kokolakis

    Location: Toronto, ON

    Presented by: Cedar Ridge Gallery. Part of the Cedar Ridge Gallery Contemporary Exhibition series. March..
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Phyllis Serota: Memory, Prayer, Celebration

By Robert Amos November 29, 2004

} Phyllis Serota: Memory, Prayer, Celebration - 20 years of Jewish Art By Robert Amos at the Wings of Peace Gallery, 1461 Blanshard Street, 382-0615. The exhibition is open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 1 pm until November 20. In this age when the definition of art embraces out-of-focus video loops created for a institutional audiences, Phyllis Serota finds satisfaction in an old strategy. She paints narrative pictures for an audience which knows her personally. Her art delves into themes of her personal experience, her family’s history and the life of the Jewish community of which she is part. Simchat Torah, 2003, acrylic on canvas Serota has developed al oyal following in 30 years of work in Victoria. Solo exhibitions of her work have drawn acclaim at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the University of Victoria and Open Space. Her fans anticipate the annual Valentine’s Day show in her studio in James Bay. Currently the Wings of Peace Gallery at Temple Emmanu-El (... Blanshard Street) presents a collection of old and new work specifically and profoundly relating to Serota’s Jewish heritage and faith. “Memory, prayer and celebration:” Serota told me, “one of the purest places that I come from is my heritage. It seems to be quite a pure and easy place.” Her view of Jewish life is not dogmatic, nor is it didactic. Her goal is to share with us some of her most meaningful experiences. Hebrew School, 2002-04, acrylic on canvas Serota’s family came from the Ukraine and settled in Chicago. The core of this show depicts her young life. Her parents made a loving home life, which the artist represents as a dinner table with wine, candles and the holy book. All is illuminated by starlight and moonlight pouring through the window. A large portrait of Serota’s father presents him bound with the bands of tephilim, preparing himself for prayer. We looked at a recent painting of children in Hebrew school, in which an unkempt and distracted teacher smoked and held forth. Rabbi Harry Brechner stopped by and reminded us that, when Serota was a student in the late 1940’s, it was often concentration camp survivors who were given jobs in the Hebrew schools. Rabbi Brechner himself is not at all “old school”. He’s a dynamic and open-minded leader who has brought new vitality to Victoria’s oldest Jewish congregation. The next painting shows the Simchat Torah ceremony. This takes place in a darkened synagogue in which young girls parade with candles, apples and flags. This was the one day of the year when the women were permitted into the “family synagogue” of Serota’s youth. Aside from the history encoded in the image, it is a painting of striking colour and composition. A dominant motif in this exhibit is dancing. Men with long sidelocks wear the special regalia of the Chassidic Jews, for whom dancing in ecstasy is part of the religious observation. “It’s part of their relationship to God and prayer,” Serota informed me. In other images, lines of men and women join with arms on one another’s shoulders. The music of Fiddler On the Roof comes to my mind. On the Table, 1999, acrylic on paper “My family loved to dance,” she continued. “I’ve probably told you about my Aunt Molly. She’s in every one of my paintings of dancers. At a Bar Mitzvah party maybe three musicians would be playing quietly in the background while everyone ate dinner. All of a sudden, Aunt Molly would get up and dance - by herself - dance all around the room. She was a big woman, and she held herself proudly. It happened a number of times and it was just about the most thrilling thing about my childhood.” A defining feature of the Serota style is her careful graduation of tone from light to dark which creates a luminous effect. I suggested to her that this light, which pervades her world of memory, is a metaphor for the divine spirit - moonlight, starlight, candlelight or simply the light which shines from within each believer. Serota thought this over and seemed to agree. “My first memories are about light,” she replied. “Light streaming through a window with the dust motes dancing; a patch of sunshine on a wall.” She continued to muse. “Light and love,” she murmured - the subject matter of her art. The consummation of these explorations is a large self-portrait. Serota, with running shoes and wristwatch, strides purposefully forward. She seems oblivious to the four protecting angels which surround her. Rabbi Brechner had mentioned the angels to Serota when she was facing a personal challenge. She thought that if she took these words and made a visual image of them, then she would come closer to understanding the teaching. Four Angels, 2004, acrylic on canvas It looks like a picture of joy and strength, but that’s not how the artist sees it. “I have a real sadness, because I’m not aware of these protectors 99.99 % of the time,” she said. Of course, the angels don’t mind. Perhaps this visualization will help the artist to realize their presence more frequently in the future. The exhibit doesn’t evangelize - “Jews don’t believe in that,” Serota pointed out. And while it offers insight, it doesn’t explain the details of Jewish ceremony. These paintings simply witness a life of love and sharing, an offering from an artist to her community. (You can views the show on-line at www.congregation-emanu-el.org/about/gallery.php and visit the artist’s site at www.phyllisserota.com) ___________________________________________ Copyright © 2004Robert Amos Robert Amos is an artist and art writer who lives in Victoria, B.C.. He can be contacted by e-mail and you can view his paintings at www.robertamos.com