On Nov. 13, Atlanta Jewish Times welcomed guests at the Bill Lowe Gallery for an appreciation reception for those that have a special interest in art and have shared their lives with AJT readers as subjects in articles by writer Marcia Jaffe, be it the secret to long marriages, special recipes, artists, interior designers, or a combination of all “making a really good story.”
The gallery is featuring an exhibition of new works by New York artist Michael David titled “The Mirror Stage.” David is a Jewish world-renowned artist who was born in Reno, Nev., and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., where his family relocated when he was young. He attended SUNY Fredonia for one year and, in 1976, received a B.F.A. from Parson’s School of Design.
David is classified as an abstract painter, best known for his use of the encaustic technique, which incorporates pigment with heated beeswax. He is also known for his works in mixed-media figure painting, photography, and environmental sculpture. His work is included in the permanent public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Jewish Museum in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.
The gallery’s director, Donovan Johnson, told the AJT that he wasn’t sure how he met Jaffe, although he was grateful for her efforts to arrange and hold the reception there. “I do not remember honestly. She has, of course, known the gallery for quite some time and I have always known about the AJT. We both cultivate community in our jobs and that is what attracted me to her.”
Johnson said that the gallery displayed a total of 33 pieces of David’s art. When Johnson was asked about how many pieces were sold, he said, “Several – I cannot say how many. The selling prices were between $25k to $100k.”
Jaffe gave a history of the Chai Style column and what a commitment of “real estate” is made in the three-page spread the AJT has featured over the years. She noted that no other Jewish newspaper in the country has a similar feature. She spoke of home interior copy coming of age with the beginning of Architectural Digest in 1920 when readership caught on with, “Someday I will have the house I want.”
To which she elaborated, “Some do, some don’t achieve that, but they are still curious to look inside your home. The homes we have featured have all been interesting, from Buddhist temple living rooms to exotic roaming cockatiel birds.”
She then jokingly spoke of houses that were not chosen for coverage in jest as fodder for a book.
In conclusion, Jaffe praised the Atlanta community for having the best Jewish newspaper in the country, recently awarded by the Jewish National Press Association, and the fact that, “We have been around for 98 years, looking forward to plenty more years ahead.”
AJT Editor and Managing Publisher Kaylene Ladinsky then thanked the audience for letting the AJT share their homes and their personal stories.
Jaffe sat adjacent to artist Michael David and asked questions about why he chose a dangerous material like glass for production, what the physical production was like in his studio, and how he related to Jewish themes.
Of his work, Michael David said, “Mirrors are never the same way twice. My paintings are alive and shifting. All great spirituality comes together when you realize that you are part of something bigger than yourself, then you connect.”
He related the physicality of smashing with mallets and using tar as a backdrop. In one instance, a huge painting split in half with which he flowed. He also elaborated on the story of the evils of the Golem and his work around that.
The last question was: “How do you view Atlanta and the South…being from New York City. Do you see us as hicks or yokels?”
Rankled, David expressed, “I don’t even know where to begin on that. I have been coming to Atlanta for 12 years, teaching at Savannah College of Art & Design, etc. I have witnessed Atlanta’s vibrancy as having a large gay and African American population and the confluence of great cultures.”
He then took questions from the audience about the role pain plays in his artistry, and how he goes about naming his work.
The bottom line, David said, “At the end of life, what counts is whether you loved and were loved.”
David Schendowich, director of marketing and communications for the William Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum, said, “Today’s meetup at the Bill Lowe Galley with artist Michael David was great. Lots of engaging people and friends enjoyed a delicious assortment of food in the presence of art that made us all reflect. The art by Michael David is made of large and small wall-hanging installations comprised of shattered mirrors immersed in a tar medium. The artist relayed stories of his inspirations behind the constructs and his process for breaking mirrors. I am looking forward to the next AJT Chai Style Art meetup.”
Attendee and art doyenne Fay Gold recalled that her son, architect Jason Gold, designed the original Lowe Gallery space when it opened and operated under her name from 2000-2009 in the full 8,000-square-feet space with stark concrete flooring that so well contrasts the art.
In describing Michael David’s work, Gold said, “His abstract work resonates on a profound level. The use of layers of beeswax, encaustic and crushed mirrors create a spiritual and gestural experience. It takes us ‘out of our minds’ for the moment and helps define ourselves.”
If you are interested in seeing David’s display contact Donovan Johnson with the Bill Lowe Gallery, www.lowegallery.com.
Marcia Caller Jaffe contributed to this article.
- STYLE Magazine
- Kaylene Ladinsky
- Bill Lowe Gallery
- Michael David
- SUNY Fredonia
- Parson’s School of Design
- encaustic technique
- mixed-media figure painting
- environmental sculpture
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- the Guggenheim Museum
- the Jewish Museum in New York
- the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- Donovan Johnson
- Chai Style
- Architectural Digest
- Savannah College of Art & Design
- William Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum
- Fay Gold
- Jason Gold