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Completing the Circle: The Fiber Art of Ina Golub
Aug '08
Inspiring Exhibition at The Newark Museum Explores a Lifetime Devoted to Artistic Interpretation of Sacred Judaic Themes

Renowned fiber artist Ina Golub, whose magnificent works adorn synagogues and are jealously held in private collections throughout the United States, celebrates her 70th birthday this year by returning to the city of her birth with an exhibition at The Newark Museum entitled Completing the Circle:The Fiber Art of Ina Golub.

The exhibition in the Museum's Contemporary Craft Gallery and the Carole and Albert Angel Promenade opens August 13 and runs through May 3, 2009.

“This beautiful and inspiring 30-object exhibition explores the range of materials and themes used by Ina Golub over the past four decades of her career to interpret the tenets and images of Judaism and Jewish Law,” explained Ulysses Grant Dietz, the Museum's Curator of Decorative Arts.

The works, from her personal collection as well as those on loan from public and private collections across the country, include weaving, fiber collage and beadwork infused with the strong sense of color and texture that has become her signature.

“Color is the essence of my art,” the artist explained. Golub has been commissioned by synagogues, museums and private collectors throughout the United States to create custom-designed fiber art, including tapestries and Jewish ceremonial objects, as well as textiles with secular content.

Religious objects featured in the exhibition include Torah (Jewish holy scripture) mantles; havdallah spice boxes (used in services to mark the end of weekly Sabbath observance); tallitot (prayer shawls) and kippot (skullcaps); and Sabbath candlesticks, among other works. Design renderings for commissioned works are displayed including drawings for wonderfully-colorful and inspirational parokhot (curtains for the Holy Ark containing the Torah scrolls and located on the eastern wall of every Jewish House of Worship).

Several of her works depict pomegranates, thought to be the fruit with which Eve tempted Adam. Tradition holds that the fruit contains 613 seeds, equal to the number of commandments in the Torah.

“Growing up in a Jewish home with minimal ritual observance,” Golub said, “I felt isolated from my heritage. A college art history professor planted the seeds which, many years later, would take me on an enlightening journey into the depths of my culture. Slowly and consistently, I have developed a deep understanding of the meaning of my tradition. Its spiritual beauty has become the expressive power of my art.”

Commenting on Golub's 40-plus-year artistic journey into Jewish lore, ideas and imagery, Rabbi Reuben R. Levine, a noted Jewish art history scholar and consultant in synagogue design and ritual art and rabbi emeritus of Temple Beth Ahm, Springfield, NJ, said: ”Ina's creations reflect a spiritual splendor and aesthetic brilliance that speaks deeply and directly to the beholder. Her work lends meaning and dignity to Jewish artistic expression in a field where kitsch and derivative nostalgic anachronism often find easy acceptance.”

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