by Tom Soboleski
Special for SNH
When our souls get heavy with life’s burdens, art has the potential to soothe and offer solace. That theme will be explored in an exhibit of new works by nationally renowned sculptor Gilbert Boro at the Main Street Gallery of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek (CBSRZ) in Chester. Coming Together, a show highlighting works born out of Boro’s loss of his wife, will be on display at CBSRZ’s gallery until April 30. The exhibit is a prequel to the unveiling of the synagogue’s planned “Meditation Garden,” anticipated to open in 2020.
The “Meditation Garden” will feature a large-scale sculpture loaned from Boro’s Studio 80 Sculpture Grounds in Old Lyme, a park-like setting developed in concert between Boro and his wife Emily. The original model of the loaned garden sculpture will be donated to CBSRZ.
The show has special significance for Boro because the synagogue is the repository of a Memorial Light celebrating the memory of his wife of 48 years, Emily Seward Boro. A period of sadness and depression that followed her passing in 2013 acted as a catalyst, Boro says, fueling new creativity culminating in his “Musical Master Works” and “What’s Knot to Like” series. Ten to 15 works of aluminum, steel, and copper from these series, plus a few larger pieces, will be on public display for the first time. Boro credits his interaction with CBSRZ’s designer, the celebrated artist Sol LeWitt, with firing his creative imagination at a young age. “I found LeWitt’s extensive range of artistic expression extremely stimulating,” Boro says. “He inspired me and challenged me to broaden my vision, which resulted in applying my art education to the creation of architecture. Having my sculptures exhibited here has special meaning for me.”
Photography by Christina Goldberg will also be part of the show. Goldberg’s captivating images give viewers a unique insight to Boro’s sculptures by zooming in for intimate inspection of the joints and details. They will be printed on thin sheets of aluminum using a dye sublimation process.
“This exhibit is rather novel,” says the gallery’s curator, Linda Pinn, “in that to a large degree the works to be exhibited will be scale models of the work that he anticipates to place in the garden.” The “Meditation Garden” is envisioned to draw on the therapeutic power of nature and inspiring capacity of art. Gardens are a common respite for their calming effect.
Art’s power to stimulate and transform our thoughts and beliefs make it a potential balm to sooth our minds and spirits. Studies now conclude that exposure to creative works are an elixir for our emotions when struggling with anxiety, depression, loss, and pain. “Bringing art and nature together to create a peaceful, contemplative environment where people can walk, relax, and be calm,” will be a respite to escape, recharge, and heal.
The Main Street Gallery at CBSRZ is open to the public free of charge, Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and on Sundays when Sunday school is in session. It is located just off Route 154 at 55 East Kings Hwy, Chester. For more information visitcbsrz.org.
Tom Soboleski, of Ivoryton, is a freelance writer who focuses on topics of human interest, art, culture and history. To see more of his writing, go to: tomsobo.com.