"Fabric of Prayer" Paintings Illuminated with Global Patterns

"Hallelujah" by Barbara Kohl-SpiroNew works by Milwaukee artist Barbara Kohl-Spiro from her "Shiviti Fabric of Prayer" series will be on exhibit August 15 - November 19, 2012 in the Daniel M. Soref Learning Commons in the UWM Golda Meir Library and at Hillel Milwaukee near the UWM campus.

Kohl-Spiro will present a talk entitled "Shiviti The Journey of an Artist" on Tuesday, October 16 at 7 p.m. in Special Collections, located on the 4th Floor of the Golda Meir Library. A pre-reception for the artist will be held at 5:30 p.m. at Hillel Milwaukee (RSVP appreciatied).

Kohl-Spiro's colorful and vibrant paintings--mixed media on assembled sheets of handmade paper--reflect the concept of traditional fabric shiviti often hung in synagogues as contemplative reminders of God's presence.

"Shiviti" is Hebrew for "I have set," derived from the biblical verse "I have set the Lord always before me" (Psalms 16:8).

The paintings incorporate patterns found in quilts, tapestries and amulets from Russia, India, Israel, Brazil, the U.S. and other countries, designs created by women and offering, Kohl-Sprio says, women's "soulful expression of love, of life, and love of God."

Barbara Kohl-Spiro has exhibited nationally, and her work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of Art, the Albright Knox Museum in Buffalo, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and in numerous private collections.

The joint exhibit is co-sponsored by the UWM Libraries; Hillel Milwaukee; UWM Year of the Arts, Peck School of the Arts; UWM Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies; and Jewish Museum Milwaukee.

A separate exhibit, "Jewish Artists and the Book," featuring a selection of materials from the Middle Ages to the present, will run September 14 - December 28, 2012 in the 4th Floor Exhibition Gallery of the Library.

The UWM Golda Meir Library is located at 2311 E. Hartford Avenue, 414-229-4345 or libspecial@uwm.edu. Library hours at http://www4.uwm.edu/libraries/hours/

Hillel Milwaukee is located at 3053 N. Stowell Avenue. 414-961-2010 or info@hillelmke.org. Hillel hours at http://hillelmilwaukee.org/home/about/directions.aspx

Image: Hallelujah, Barbara Kohl-Spiro, 2011, mixed media.