Exhibition Opening Reception: Postwar Russia in the Art of Felix Lembersky (1913-1970)

The Rubin-Frankel Gallery

Sep. 22, 2011, 06:00 pm

213 Bay State Road


The Rubin-Frankel Gallery at Boston University Hillel is proud to present the exhibition Faces of Revival: Postwar Russia in the Art of Felix Lembersky (1913–1970). Lembersky’s art touches on universal themes of survival, resilience, memory, and spirituality—themes that are especially relevant today when our country is facing multiple military engagements, international upheaval, and the confrontation of totalitarian regimes by their people. Lembersky was a witness to such events two generations ago. His is a story of courage and the unrelenting pursuit of freedom, told through paintings and drawings that offer a vision of vitality and hope prevailing over violence and despair. His panorama of people and places is communicated in a visual language that evolves from realistic description to symbolic evocation, achieving a heightened expression that reveals unspoken truths. Lembersky was a witness to two world wars, the Siege of Leningrad, and totalitarian terror. He lost his parents in the Holocaust. His painting Execution: Babi Yar, ca. 1944-52, created in the aftermath of the massacre of Jews in Kiev, is the earliest-known artistic rendering of this horrific event; its imagery persists in metaphorical form in his later work. In contrast to the Soviet prototype of the industrial worker as invincible hero, Lembersky juxtaposes the austerity of workers’ lives with stunningly beautiful industrial landscapes. Like the American social realists such as Ben Shahn and Jack Levine, Lembersky brings social justice into the realm of artistic expression. Lembersky was an influential artist, a teacher, and a champion of creative freedom at a time when non-conformism was persecuted. This exhibition, (opening reception on Thursday September 22), invites discussion in the fields of history, political science, philosophy, and art criticism. It coincides with the 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 70th anniversary of Babi Yar, and the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Soviet Union. It is the first major showing of Lembersky’s work in the United States. This reception is open to the public.

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