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Julie Wohl: Tradition and Inspiration

January 22 - May 7, 2016

 

The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Altoona is presenting its latest exhibition, Julie Wohl: Tradition and Inspiration, on view January 22 through May 7, 2016 in the Museum's George A. and Herbert T. Wolf Gallery, the exhibition comprises 44 paintings and mixed media works created over the last decade by Altoona artist Julie Wohl. (right: Julie Wohl, Falling Flowers, n.d., Mixed media on canvas, 24" x 36". Courtesy of the artist)

Inspired by Jewish tradition, textual sources and ritual, as well as the artist's experiences of being a creator and an observer, Wohl's body of work reflects the interplay between these sometimes compulsory impulses. Combing a variety of materials including acrylic paint, cut papers, oil pastels, india ink and watercolor paint, Wohl creates a series of works that is at once joyful and meaningful, rich and whimsical. Her vibrant and colorful work speaks to the yearning for connection to community, home and faith, as well as the desire for originality, inspiration and creativity.

Born in the suburbs of Detroit, Wohl comes from a line of women artists. During her early years, she was primarily influenced by her mother and grandmother who worked in fiber art, paint and ceramics. Despite her lifelong interest and experience in the arts, it was her move to Central Pennsylvania four years ago with her husband and children that provided the time and space that allowed her art to flourish.

Wohl finds much inspiration in Jewish liturgy and text. She is the co-author and illustrator of Siddur Mah Tov (Behrman House, 2010), an illustrated prayer book for Jewish families, and the illustrator of Simply Seder (Behrman House, 2012), an illustrated Passover Haggadah. These works can be found in synagogues, bookstores and homes across the country. Wohl's spirituality is the heart of her art, and she attempts to translate this connection onto each canvas by telling a story with color, shape and figures. Every stroke is a manifestation of her deep rooted connection with tradition and her search for inspiration.

 

Artist Biography

Julie Wohl is an artist and educator who was born in the suburbs of Detroit. She comes from a line of women artists, and was primarily influenced during her early years by her mother and grandmother who worked in fiber art, paint and ceramics. During the course of her life, Julie has moved around, living in London, New York City, Jerusalem and New Jersey before settling down to a quiet life with her husband and children in Altoona, Pennsylvania. Though she has engaged with the arts for her entire life, and been a painter for the past 20 years, it was in her most recent move to Central Pennsylvania four years ago that she finally found the time and space to allow her art to really flourish.

Julie's art is about tradition and creative expression. She draws threads from her own life, Judaism, family, community and the act of creating itself. Though her choice of media may vary, her work generally incorporates flowing shapes and vibrant colors. She uses thick acrylic paint, cut papers, oil pastels, india ink and watercolor paint. She mixes these media together in a variety of ways, layering color, texture and pattern for a rich yet whimsical effect.

Her work is infused with joy. It is meant to be uplifting but also to make you slow down. It is the small details, the layer and the texture that make it unique. It is the form but also the content that make it significant. The work is a celebration of ritual, an examination of human experience, it is about creativity and color and joy as well as depth and personal experience.

Julie finds much of her inspiration in Jewish liturgy and text. She is the co-author and illustrator of Siddur Mah Tov (Behrman House, 2010), an illustrated prayer book for Jewish families, and the illustrator of Simply Seder (Behrman House, 2012), an illustrated Passover Haggadah. These works can be found in synagogues, bookstores and homes around the country. She also works in communities around the northeast and Midwest, teaching, telling stories and working with groups to create large scale communal art pieces.

Julie's spirituality is the heart of her art, and she wishes to translate this connection onto every canvas by telling a story with color, shape, and figures. Every stroke is a manifestation of her deep rooted connection with tradition and her search for inspiration.

 

(above: Julie Wohl, Inspiration and Tradition, n.d., Acrylic on canvas, 48" x 60". Courtesy of the artist)

 

(above: Julie Wohl, Lighting the Sabbath Candles, n.d., Acrylic on canvas, 20" x 20". Courtesy of the artist)

 

(above: Julie Wohl, Portrait of the Artist 2, n.d., Mixed media on canvas, 20" x 20", Courtesy of the artist)

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