Butterflies & Beyond: A moving exhibit comes to La Jolla’s Gotthelf Gallery

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt

The Butterfly Project was created in 2006 to memorialize the 1.5 million children killed in the Holocaust. This month, in collaboration with the project, the Jewish Community Center’s Gotthelf Art Gallery in La Jolla invited 24 San Diego artists to explore the theme of transformation and the idea of the butterfly as a metaphor for the human spirit.

More than 100 viewers, including most of the artists, filled the gallery at the March 12 opening of “Transformations: Butterflies & Beyond.” Many of the pieces were striking interpretations of the theme, with interesting stories behind them.

Shana Lew’s dried-flower sculpture “It All Depends on How You Look at It” began with a book of drawings and poems by Jewish children in the Czech concentration camp, Terezin. One of the poems, “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” was the inspiration for The Butterfly Project. “I took a teeny drawing from the book and used it as the basis of my piece,” Lew said.

Stacey Mann

Stacy Mann wrote a poem to accompany her watercolor “Flight,” which was pinned to the wall with the kind of pins used for mounting butterflies. “Breathe in,” the poem began. “Transformational in body and blood/Fire and ash rising on the wind …”

“I started with lungs, which transformed into wings and became a Holocaust piece,” Mann said, pointing out the crouching figures in the lower corner of her painting and the smoke rising at the top.

In “Chrysalis II,” Cheryl Tall used different types of materials — fired clay, tree branches, and bits of an antique handkerchief — to show the fragility of life and the endurance of the spirit.

James Watts enclosed three treasures in “Beauty Within”: a heart and brain made of alabaster and a painted tin brain, each almost life-size, in its own metal container. “I wanted to show that beauty’s on the inside, like a butterfly in a cocoon,” he said. “And this piece is two-thirds of the Wizard of Oz!”

Patricia Frischer

Patricia Frischer talked about her “Butterbear,”saying “I was at Berkeley in the 1960s when we put flowers in the soldiers’ rifles. This guy’s rifle is tipped with a butterfly made of Popsicle sticks, and the whole thing is covered with metal. The figure is a German art deco war piece, and on top there’s a child’s teddy bear being saved by an inner tube. The idea is you need to be a bear to survive, and you need metal covering for protection.”

Sandra Berlin-Kroll said her ceramic “Chrysalis” was actually three chrysalises in one.

“One is in the shape of a heart, whose colors go from dark to light,” Berlin-Kroll said. “The red is the murdered children, with their half-broken wings, and the third is a barbed wire form with a butterfly-shaped hole in it.”

Carol Korfin’s glass-and-metal butterfly tree was one of the first pieces in the show to be sold.

Carol Korfin

“I just started glass art six years ago, after I retired from insurance sales,” Korfin said. “I dabbled in art before then, but after one class in fused glass, I said, ‘That’s it! I’ve found my passion!’ ”

In her piece, Korfin explained, “One butterfly represents the Jews of Israel, the other is the Jews of the Diaspora, and there are 18 Jewish stars — 18 is ‘Chai,’ the symbolic number for life — representing the souls of all the Jewish children who died in the Holocaust.”

Vivian Ressler, who with her husband, Jeffrey, co-sponsored the exhibit, showed a watercolor of two girls who died at Auschwitz. “They were my first cousins,” Ressler said. “We have a photo of them. My family left Hungary for Cuba in 1936; my father’s relatives who stayed behind were all killed. I left the painting of these girls unfinished because they never got to finish their lives.”

■ IF YOU GO: “Transformations: Butterflies & Beyond” is on view 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday-Friday (closed Saturdays) through May 28 at Gotthelf Art Gallery, Jewish Community Center, 4126 Executive Drive. Free. (858) 457-3030.

Related posts:

  1. Juxtaposed Journey: Life takes artist from Holocaust ‘Into the light’
  2. Art exhibit at Gotthelf Gallery will examine Jewish literary figures of film
  3. Library to host kids art event Friday afternoons
  4. The Kincade Chronicles: Artist tells fictional family’s history in Athenaeum exhibit
  5. The gift of art

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=122766

Posted by Staff on Apr 6, 2014. Filed under A & E, Art. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar


Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Summer 2014 Carmel Valley Open Basketball League Champs: ‘Carmel Valley Spurs’ August 30, 2014
    On Aug. 18, the Carmel Valley Spurs defeated the Solana Beach Stray Cats, 67-41, in the 5th/6th grade championship game in the Master Sports Carmel Valley OPEN Basketball League. Over a 10-game season, the offense scored 659 points while giving up only 364 on defense. The average game score was 66-36. They had the best rebounders, best shooters, and best def […]
  • Hundreds turn out for Carmel Valley planning board meeting on One Paseo August 30, 2014
    Hearts and visions collided at the Aug. 28 Carmel Valley Community Planning Board meeting, where an overflow crowd turned out to debate the future of the last major slice of the community left to be developed. All 400 seats in Canyon Crest Academy’s theater were filled, and people spilled out into the aisles and crammed into standing-room only spots in the b […]
  • Del Mar Library book-to-movie club picks fall reads August 30, 2014
    Print Goes to the Movies, a book/movie discussion group held at the Del Mar Branch Library at 2 p.m. every second Friday, has announced its upcoming dates and movies. […]