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|Art for Belsize|
We’ve always known that Belsize Square is alive with creativity, writes Vivienne Becker, but now we’re showing just how artistic we truly are, with the first exhibition of art, paintings, sculpture, glass and more by artist-members of the synagogue community. “Art for Belsize” opens at Burgh House, 1 New End Square, Hampstead NW3, from 5 to 9 May, at the start of the spring art and antiques season and while admission is free, a percentage of sales will go towards the Synagogue building fund. Aside from its fund-raising aspect, the exhibition showcases the depth and breadth of artistic talent amongst our members and taps into the rich European cultural heritage that underpinned the original foundations of Belsize Square. We hope that the exhibition will bring a sense of continuity to our milestone regeneration project, a celebration of the indomitable spirit of ingenuity and creativity that has flourished at Belsize Square for 70 years.
The exhibition was dreamt up by Dorothy White and curated by Dorothy and Alisa Jaffa and its stunning display will benefit from the professional help of gallerists Andy and David Margulies and the Ben Uri Gallery, the London Jewish Museum of Art, St John’s Wood. Artists showing their work will include sculptor Dorothy Brook, glass artist Ruth Kersley, painter and printmaker, Anita Klein, daughter of a member, sculptor Estelle Angel and sculptor Miriam Katz, who provides the living link to Belsize Square’s roots. She was born in Hamburg and came to England in 1937, studying design at the Reimann School of Art, private school of German origin and the first commercial art school in Britain and painting at the Central School of Arts and Crafts. She lived and worked abroad for many years before returning to England to take up sculpting in bronze, wood, stone, alabaster and terracotta; her works are now in private collections around the world.
Dorothy Brook says she was always fascinated by the dynamics of the body in motion, by the curves she found everywhere around her and her fluid sculptures play with the shape and form of the body, creating a balance between movement and stillness, between line and form and negative space. Many of her sculptures are inspired by her passions for music, theatre and particularly dance, capturing the split second before a twist or turn.
With a fine art degree, focusing on sculpture, Ruth Kersley later went on to explore the art of stained glass, studying at Central St Martin’s in the early 90s. Now working from her studio in London, she takes on commissions, both private and public, creates fused glass garden pieces and jewellery, as well as teaching and running art projects in schools. Her monumental stained glass panels, incorporating dynamic movement, strong lines and layered colours, include eleven for a circular synagogue in the Jewish Free School, 2002.
Anita Klein’s distinctive, naive style of painting women and their lives is widely appreciated for its touch of humour and humanity. She studied at Chelsea and Slade Schools of Art, and has spent time working in both Italy and Australia where, in 2006, she was invited to be one of four artists in residence at Bundanon, New South Wales, Australia, as part of a residential scheme set up by famous 20th century Australian artist and printmaker, Arthur Boyd. A Fellow and Past President of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers, her work is in many private and public collections around the world.
A magistrate and a singer, Estelle Angel, studied silk-screen printing and sculpture in the 1980s, at the Hampstead School of Art and then the Institute, starting to sculpt at first in clay, then wood, stone, wire and plaster. Today, she still works at the Institute, finding it more exhilarating than working in her own studio and explains that she sculpts straight into the wood or stone, allowing the material to guide her imagination and reveal what is hidden inside.
All of Eve Hersov’s artworks are painted outside in Hampstead Heath and in Tuscany, as she watches the earth spin and the seasons change. “Plein air,” she explains, “is about capturing a scene and staking a claim in this world at a particular point in time.” Working in oil and acrylic, applying multiple layers, she paints the same scenes over and over, from season to season, year to year, in morning, afternoon and evening light. The process of change she sees is the same, she feels, as the process of ageing, change and development that happens within her as an artist and a person. In nature, she believes, we affirm life.
All the works on show, by these artists and several other distinguished artists from the area, will be affordable and accessible, with a private preview planned on the opening day. Please make a note in your diary for ‘Art for Belsize’.