The Art Gallery at Or Zarua features exhibitions that reflect the active participation of congregants in all areas of synagogue life at Or Zarua. These exhibitions transform the social hall from a room with plain walls into an attractive, informative, and colorful gallery. In this, Or Zarua is exceptional, since few synagogues display changing exhibitions and even fewer have congregants who research and organize those exhibitions.
Current Exhibit: Throughout the summer, the OZ Gallery will be displaying ten prints based on the creation narrative in Bereshit by the artist and multi-talented designer Rudi Wolff. Many in the congregation may not know that Rudi designed our distinctive Or Zarua logo and has created the stunning graphic art for the information panels that are the basis for almost all of the more than twenty exhibitions in the gallery. Showing his vibrant, abstract work in our gallery is an opportunity to get to know this artist who has been an invaluable friend to the Or Zarua community.
Who is Rudi Wolff?
Answered by Rudi Wolff
“At the tender age of seventeen, I was apprenticed to the well-known book illustrator Bernard Brussel-Smith. Here I learned the art of wood engraving and fine art printing. The studio was above Zabar’s on Broadway and getting sandwiches for lunch proved no problem. That year and a half taught me what craft was all about. It was invaluable. After a degree in fine art from Cooper Union, many of us “fine” artists found it was actually possible to make a decent living in ad agency work.
Agency art direction was followed by opening my own graphic arts studio where the work was more challenging and included film, exhibition design, branding, magazine and book design. But after a good many years, the lure of fine-art print making, made possible in my case by the computer, took over.”
Our Congregant, esteemed author and longstanding friend of Rudi Wolff, Fran Klagsbrun, described the Creation series in an introduction to a book featuring Rudi’s work. She wrote:
“Rudi Wolff’s bold visual interpretations are unlike any before them, and still they have roots in tradition—in the texts of Moses and the aesthetic images of the biblical artist Bezalel, who oversaw the building of the wilderness sanctuary. In his designs, Bezalel used lush yarns of ‘blue, purple, and crimson’ the Bible says, twisted and turned into ‘loops’ and other decorative patterns. Wolff uses lush layers of blues, purples, crimsons and many other vibrant colors turned into seamless forms that delight, surprise, and challenge, inspiring us to think hard even while we enjoy. Seen as a whole, Wolff’s visual journey offers a sweeping view of the majesty of creation and the profundity of the Bible’s ethical lessons.”
Past exhibitions have included:
One Family – Photographs of Vardi Kahana
A Young and Hopeful Land: Israel’s Early Days – Photographs of Rudi Weissenstein
Additional Meanings – The Art of Summantics by Karen Shaw
Today I Am: Jewish Coming of Age Rituals
Our Colorful Bible, a series of serigraph prints by artist Rudi Wolff
Bagels, Babka & Balabustas: 100 Years of Jewish Food in America
Our Precious Legacies: Jewish Heirlooms from Congregants and their Stories
Through the Window: Enchanted Places & Magical Spaces, by Caroline Golden
Sowing Light: 200 Small Works by Congregants on the Subject of Light
In the Beginning: A Series of Ten Prints Inspired by the “Creation” by Rudi Wolff (special friend of Or Zarua)
The Colorful Hand-Made Quilts of Lorraine Shapiro (Or Zarua congregant)
Creating Sacred Space: Anniversary Exhibition Documenting the Building of Or Zarua
From Yankel to Yankee: The Americanization of Jews Reflected in Yiddish Theater and Popular Music (also displayed at Temple Beth El in Fairfield, Connecticut)
From Jaffa to Java: Ten Stories of Economic and Cultural Achievement in Israel
Jews Around the World: The Photographs of Zion Ozeri (Or Zarua congregant)
Five Books of Moses: Micro-calligraphy by Leon Azoulay of Safad