NEW YORK.- Yeshiva University Museum presents a multimedia exhibition by painter and printmaker, Miriam Stern, on view through January 13, 2008. This site-specific installation addresses how the issues of separateness, prayer and feminism are defined within spiritual communities issues symbolized by the mechitzah (partition) that sets apart the womens area (Ezrat Nashim) from mens seating in a traditional Jewish synagogue.
The installation is comprised of ten larger than life-size female figures, including a self-portrait of the artist and images of nine of her friends. Sculptures are made of di-bond metal, and depict a mixed-media portrait of a woman on one side, and on the reverse side, her silhouette overlaid with enlarged photographs of lattice, wire, lace, or other materials that are generally used to create mechitzas. The sculptures, larger than life-size in height and width, but only 1/8 of an inch in depth, will be placed throughout the gallery to act as free-standing partitions, evoking the often narrow confines of the womens section of a traditional synagogue. The installation also includes a sound component, compiled by Ben Johnson, featuring a group of women quietly singing the Hallel service, the praise that is recited on Rosh Hodesh, the prayers for the New Month.
Miriam Stern lives in Teaneck, New Jersey. Her work has been included in various exhibitions in the United States and Israel, including the Newark Museum in New Jersey, the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, and the Artist House in Jerusalem. Her work is represented in the collections of Yeshiva University Museum and Johnson & Johnson Corporation.