Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Inspired by Light for Israeli Artist Rivka Rosenthal, There Is Always a Season of Hope

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Inspired by Light for Israeli Artist Rivka Rosenthal, There Is Always a Season of Hope

Article excerpt

The name of the exhibit is "Rivka Rosenthal . . . Luminosity." The subject is light.

In the desert of Israel, Rosenthal said, there is a certain intensity to the light. And Jews have always searched for light and hope.

"That is the theme," she said.

Rivka Rosenthal and her paintings come from Israel. The titles of her paintings come from the Old Testament, Ecclesiastes, to be exact. However, some people undoubtedly will recognize them from the words from The Byrds' recording of Pete Seeger's Turn, Turn, Turn: "A time to be born, and a time to die . . ."

The exhibit of about 40 paintings, bright colorful works in plain wooden frames, opens today at The Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art.

Rosenthal was born in Israel and has lived her life there. She speaks some English, only some. She came to the United States once about 20 years ago. But this is her first exhibition here.

And that was made possible by One World Foundation, a private foundation funded and run by W. Scott and Nancy McLucas. A career in television and advertising, along with a couple of inheritances, have given McLucas an enviable lifestyle. Half his year is spent in Ponte Vedra Beach, where the foundation is based, and the other half in the south of France, where he is vice president of a Renoir museum.

There's an international art festival each year in Cagnes sur Mer. And it was there in 1996, in an 11th century castle, that the McLucases first saw Rosenthal's work.

They met Rosenthal and were taken by both the artist and her work. They bought four of her paintings.

"I think what struck me was the heart that I saw in her paintings," McLucas said. "Then when I met her, I saw how firmly she is attached to a belief in brotherhood. And that's striking since she lives in Israel, a country threatened every hour with annihilation."

Rosenthal is 50 years old. She paints and teaches painting in Israel. Her work used to be realistic, landscapes and portraits.

"Like a photograph," she said.

But then her teacher told her she needed to develop her own style. So about 10 years ago, she started going abstract, and she kept going. …

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