Praying is certainly a personal experience as is the interpretation of it. Accomplished artist Judie Jacobs takes on this very intimate method of connecting to G-d in emotional Jewish illustrations, putting brush to color and paper.
She said, “For a number of years, I’ve considered visualizing prayers by illustrating my thoughts on canvas. I started employing a variety of media to finish my thoughts as soon as I presented the idea to Ventulett Gallery as a place to exhibit my work, and they paired me with Mary Jane Miller – who represented the non-Jewish element of the show – that resulted in ‘Sacred Prayers, Sacred Narratives.’”
Jacobs stated that her prayers often seem to rise through a hazy atmosphere that hovers in a “holding pattern” before joining a clean, pristine energy that communicates the request to G-d. The works in her series include representations of Jewish concepts and prayers that are utilized in Jewish worship services or personal prayers that she recites with her family at home.
Jacobs mused, “A very intimate method of connection between G-d and man is prayer. Every day, as we seek to communicate our most important needs to G-d, we have the chance to thank G-d, pray and sing praises. Instead of asking questions, we discover the answers by observing and confronting the problems in our lives. Such profound awareness is not a typical or expected result of prayer. Thoughtful or emotional epiphanies do happen often, and they almost always happen while we are not actively looking for them.”
Jacobs hopes that viewers at the show see certain similarities among various religions and that will help to lessen the polarizing force that currently exists in society. Mary Jane Miller is an internationally recognized iconographer and author living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Miller is among a small group of artists who have revived the ancient painting technique of iconography. Today, she continues to create, teach, and preserve iconography and sacred art as a spiritual visual language that leads to enlightenment.
Miller’s work draws on ancient icon painting techniques to showcase her own insight on inner spiritual wellbeing brought into modern times. Her work, a personal definition of life, of mankind’s history and trajectory through spirituality, is a visual manifestation of the way in which she understands her own pilgrimage and growth.
For the Ventulett show, Jacobs has 18 pieces ranging from 12” x 12” to 48” x 48.” Miller also has 16 works on display at the gallery. Each of their paintings has completely different colors and imagery, but the messages suggesting how to approach a dialogue with G-d are similar.
“Tree of Life” and “Sh’ma” are two of Jacobs’ favorites. She said, “They have the most impact on me and I particularly appreciate how they turned out.”
Jacobs concluded, “My objective is to create new ways to communicate good energy and beauty via my unique perspective by fusing my life experiences with the various art mediums. Text from old prayers and poems can be found in many works. I also produce modest, useful, and ornamental clay pieces. I want my art to appeal to a more reflective, quieter element of our life and to contrast the impersonal modern technology world in which many of us find ourselves, such as artificial intelligence.”
Representation by several Atlanta galleries placed her work in numerous private and corporate collections throughout the country.
Jacobs is also known for 32 years of teaching art at Holy Innocents Episcopal School. Jacobs was highlighted in the Atlanta Jewish Times on Sept. 17, 2021, featuring her design of the stained-glass windows at Temple Sinai in memory of her husband, Dr. Warren Jacobs, and his love for trees.
For more information about Jacobs’ work, visit www.judiejacobs.com or Instagram @judiejacobs. The gallery show will continue through Oct. 30, with a reception from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Oct. 19. The Ventulett Gallery at Holy Innocents is located at 805 Mt. Vernon Hwy.