Spring begins with colour and joy at TBT Gallery in Calgary

"Path" by Lily Rosenberg is part of an exhibit currently on display at TBT Gallery in Calgary until April 30.

Artist Lily Rosenberg.

By Shelley Werner

(AJNews) – Temple B’nai Tikvah presents “Light Will Win Over Darkness” by Calgary Artist Lily Rosenberg.

Passover brings a time for renewal and new beginnings, with hopes for the warmth of the season ahead. Artist Lily Rosenberg ushers in this season with a joyful display of colour and a playful sense of artistry in the TBT Gallery and on the cover of the upcoming Calgary Passover edition of Alberta Jewish News. Her work is presented in a variety of media, from pastels, acrylic paints to ipad images. All are vibrant and infused with a sense of immediacy, allowing the viewer to find themselves surrounded by movement and intensely passionate art.

Curator Jennifer Eiserman says, “what unites the evolving styles and media of Lily Rosenberg’s work is colour. Vibrant, saturated, warm hues infuse her work across the decades of her oeuvre. This colour speaks to Rosenberg’s engagement with Life, which is situated in her deep faith. She perceives the Divine force that emanates from all Creation and reveals it to us through her work.”

Lily felt there was a need to express that the light of hope will win over the darkness of war. In her works she has added one flower that was dimmer, contrasted to the brightness of most of big light flowers. She has made one of the flowers a little darker to emphasize the play of the light. She is very pleased with the direction of the work.  She says, “I’m having so much fun that people will have fun also looking at it; that’s why I stuck with painting with different media and I’m still doing it.”

Rosenberg used to paint from photos and from memory. Recently she would do “plein air painting” which means painting outside in a natural setting. She goes outdoors and takes her little knapsack and sits down to paint. It became an inspiration for her because she realized that when working from a photograph, she would be limited with what is shown within the photo frame; when she’s painting in real life she can see a live bird go by, and add it to the picture. She can look around and notice a bridge, and decide immediately to add it to the painting.

Lily wishes that when people view her work, they’ll feel she has something to say in a whimsical way; to have a sense of “wow” and a feeling of joy.  She usually knows in what direction she’s going with the art. “I don’t know how the painting is going to appear but I have a direction,” says Lily. “If I wish to paint flowers, either I go to Safeway and buy flowers and just look at them, or I paint flowers out of my Imagination.”

There was time when all she wanted to do was to paint Israel, Jerusalem, Jaffa; places that she was very familiar with. She felt as if she was staying loyal: Lily’s Israeli, “that’s what she does” and it was natural. She didn’t have to try hard it just came from memory, but now living in Alberta for almost forty-three years, she’s starting to see the snow landscape as beautiful and deserving of her artistic attention.

Rosenberg discovered a technique that utilizes big sheets of plastic. She would cover them with paint and create big areas of colors. She realized that acrylic peels very nicely. She could colour the plastic, peel the colours off and put it on with collage it to create a painting. It’s hard to believe that these skins could create such vibrant art.

She was very influenced by the artist David Hockney. He had a large show in Toronto that consisted of iPads on the wall. “I was so impressed,” said Lily. “I said I want to do that, so I started painting in an app. In the end I have a painting that when it’s complete I can save it and print it.”  Learning this technique was very exciting because she didn’t have to take brushes, books or paper with her. She could sit on a flight and create a painting. If she goes somewhere and has to wait for a long time she takes her iPad. “This was so freeing. I was thinking if Picasso had an ipad he probably would have used it.”

Growing up in Israel, living through three wars, and being a child of Holocaust survivors, Lily’s inner child would declare “it’s not safe, I am not coming out.” She did not allow that part of her to emerge. Now after all these years she feels safe enough to allow her to appear.  “I said I’m going let her out and she’s very joyous. She wants to play; she wants to say ‘I can do what I want. I have a voice.’ I won’t let anybody say it’s too childish.” Lily feels that this is her authentic self; she now embraces that inner child and says that she is alive now. The art in the show is proof of the artistic expression of her joyous nature.

This show is just the right thing to embrace a feeling of hope for the spring season ahead.

“Light will Win Over Darkness” can be seen until April 30, 2024 at TBT Gallery, Temple B’nai Tikvah, 900 47 Ave SW, Calgary. Monday to Thursday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm/ Friday 9:00 am to 2:00 pm or by appointment with the artist at lilyrosenberg613@gmail.com

 Shelley Werner is the host of Art and Scroll Studio zoom series that celebrates the makers and creators of Judaica Art. Next episode is on April 17, with featured artist Karen Kassap.

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