The Blue Bird Gallery.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Rivaling the Old City of Jerusalem and Safed is the Old City of Acre. Enjoying the meandering paths, I found my way to a newly opened gallery in the Turkish Bazaar, namely the Blue Bird Gallery. Within the old and traditional, here one finds a modern, well-lit and eye-catching gallery. As one enters, the characteristic arches of the area itself are well integrated within the contemporary ambiance. There is an emphasis on a kind of Matisse-like lightness of being, on flowing line and bright color, rather than the heavy, the tedious and the depressed. It elevates the roughness of, for example, the fish market and the crudity of some of the street restaurants, so that art becomes a mechanism to elevate and uplift the environment. In this sense, the gallery plays a significant role in the development of the Old City as a whole.
Although clearly pandering to the pretty and what one might call easy art, there is still a commitment to the cutting-edge and new. The drawing of a violin by Arena Levitt with musical notation, a sense of the starry heavens, a reference to Paris and a beautiful sense of calmness and shifting movement caught my attention and somewhat summarized my impression of the place: a hodgepodge of Europe, the Middle East and a strong Judaic sensibility. This is further emphasized by the mystical illustration by Ben Arues, where one finds, in my estimation, a kind of Judaic equivalent to Buddhist images of gates and levels as one climbs the inner sanctuary toward higher consciousness or enlightenment. His hand is sure and his sense of color, in particular, the blues, gold and black Assuric script, make for an intriguing journey as images of columns, birds and classical architecture take the viewer on an adventure into the mystical dimension.
The gallery shows an interesting combination of Fine Arts and crafts, appealing to tourists from around the world and possibly even the local market. There are menorahs, mezuzah covers and fine jewelery amidst the fine art of painting, sculpture and drawing. In either case, there is a strong sense of the honing of craft, so that ideas are expressed with a clear sense of sensitivity to the materials used.
Sarah Conforti’s glass relief paintings/sculptures are original and easy to appreciate as she captures a sense of place where streets, walls and buildings glow with the beautiful transparency of glass and lightly colored areas. The shapes of the pieces are well-conceived, as if surrounded by soft halos as the gleaming light of the surroundings captures the energy of the spaces and places that she conjures, re-imagining the real and the imaginative with charm and delight.
The gallery combines more well-known Israeli artists with up-and-coming artists and its satellite gallery in the Old City, named simply The Fine Arts Gallery, with its penchant for pop art, demonstrates both a good eye and aesthetic taste, especially with the addition of well-known artist, painter/sculptor David Gerstein.
The gallery should appeal to a wide audience and is a must see for anyone visiting Acre.
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