The Jewish-American identity has become increasingly blurred in the past decades as Wonder Bread substitutes for Challah, and Christmas trees rest beside the Menorah. But not speaking Hebrew or observing Shabbat doesn't discount the heritage Jewish-Americans still hold. Lynne Avadenka, Robyn Stoller Awend, and Geraldine Ondrizek come together to drive right at the heart of this identity crisis with their joint exhibit, "Speaking in Code," which adapts the Hebrew alphabet, Jewish texts, images, and symbols of Jewish ceremonial life in various art forms. Fabric, letterpress printing, book, and installation art are all utilized to get at the essential, perhaps unsolvable, questions of who we are, where we come from, and where we are going. The result is stark and eerie; the work abounds with blank spaces on print sheets and a circular hole that cuts through the center of a mock prayer book made from linen and silk. But the art is also alive, pregnant with the loaded emotion that lies between a jumble of English letters and one from the Hebrew alphabet, floating aimlessly, trying to find its place. Public reception 6-9 p.m. Saturday, May 3.
April 24-May 29, 2008