A series of colorful mixed media works by native Clevelander Marlene Burns will be featured at B’nai Jeshurun Congregation at a two-day show in conjunction with the Pepper Pike synagogue’s tribute brunch honoring Mary and Murray Berkowitz on July 14.
Burns, who now lives in Tucson, Ariz., will hang a series of 35 paintings, including three larger enhanced giclees and six originals, along with a piece called Kavod, which will be sold at auction.
Burns, who grew up in University Heights and holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree and a master’s degree from the University of Cincinnati, School of Design, Art and Architecture. She has painted for a living showing her works in galleries in New York City, Arizona and California. Her work has also been featured on magazine covers
She has a side vocation of teaching Hebrew and cantillation.
For the series she will show, called Sacred Intention, she takes as inspiration psalms, prayers and liturgical texts.
“For each painting there is an accompanying text,” she said, adding that each piece, while unplanned in the moment has required research. For her painting on Hallelujah, she contacted Leonard Cohen. For her piece on Avinu Malkheinu, she listened to Barbra Streisand’s version of the High Holy Days prayer.
“B’nai Jeshurun will be the first place I’ve ever shown the series,” she said.
Her first piece in the series was inspired by a conversation she had with a rabbi after commenting on the beauty of the presentation of the central prayer, the Sh’ma, in “Mishkan T’filah,” the Reform siddur.
Within six weeks, she painted nine paintings in the series of 25.
Her abstract pieces include acrylic paint, metallic paint and airbrush ink as well as other media.
Burns started off as a portrait artist, moved to abstract expressionism and is now an abstract painter.