WISCASSET — Leonard Meiselman settled in his New York studio one day in 2000 with a brush in his right hand, his oil paints before him and a canvas in front of him. He wanted to paint what he had painted for years: Something abstract. Instead, he painted a prayer shawl from Auschwitz.
For the next three years, he painted prayer shawls. When he moved to Maine two years ago, he thought he had long put the shawls behind him.
“I came to Maine to paint the trees,” he said.
But, when he settled in the basement studio of his house on a tidal marsh in Wiscasset, the shawls emerged.
“I couldn’t stop,” he said. “It was obsessive.”
The dark, thickly painted shawls, which sometimes reveal a human face and eyes, are part of a group exhibition at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine.
“The Dilemma of Memory,” on view through November, also includes the work of other Maine visual artists and poets responding to the Holocaust. The title of show refers to our conflict, as humans, in remembering a horror so great as the Holocaust, a genocide that resulted in the death at the hands of the Nazis of 6 million Jews during World War II.
Read more of this story by Bob Keyes in the Portland Press Herald.