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Culture notes: Holy Land trip inspires series at B’nai Torah; from the sidewalk to the gallery at Georgia Museum

By Howard Pousner

The second annual B’nai Torah Artist Market, on April 29, will feature works from the “Masada Series” by painter Susan Proctor who was inspired during a trip to Israel trip with a group from the Sandy Springs congregation.

While visiting Masada, King Herod’s desert fortress overlooking the Dead Sea and the site of an historic Jewish rebellion against the Romans, Proctor was drawn to the shapes and colors of original frescoes on its bathhouse walls. Peering at the dozens of photos she snapped of the frescoes after returning home, she focused in on forms that became the inspiration for her paintings.

“At first I adhered to what the photos were telling me — an urn, a throne, a figure climbing a mountain,” explained Proctor, an Atlanta artist since the early 1990s who is represented by galleries including Art House in Buckhead and Taylor Kinzel in Roswell. “But the more I painted, the more abstract they became, taking on a life of their own.”

She has replicated the earthy tones from those ancient walls: umbers, ochres, venetian reds and bits of turquoise, incorporating sand, netting and joint compound to evoke their texture.

Proctor has said her work comes out of a place that is “spiritual in nature” and thus is pleased to be showing at her family’s spirtual home.

Launched last year, the B’nai Torah Artist Market was created by congregant Sam Alexander as an adult Bat Mitzvah project. The market is expanding for this year’s edition, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and extras include Goodfriend’s BBQ Food Truck and computer and small electronics recycling. 700 Mt. Vernon Highway N.E., Sandy Springs. Information: 404-257-0537.

Duo of exhibits open Saturday in Athens
The Georgia Museum in Athens opens complementary exhibits that bring the life of the sidewalk into galleries on Saturday.

“John Baeder” takes the art of the former Atlantan best known for his photo-realist paintings and prints of mid-century diners in a different direction: photography. Originally considered source material for his paintings, Baeder’s photographs, including black-and-white shots of Atlanta in the early 1960s when he worked here as an ad agency art director, and pictures of handmade street signs he took over three decades, will be showcased.

“Southern Folk Art from the Permanent Collection” features works such the sculpture “Homeless Man” by the late Atlanta city councilman-turned-folk-artist Archie Byron, a 1920s stoneware face jug by Cheever Meaders and a recent acquisition, a painting by Willie Jinks, a former Atlanta sanitation worker who painted on all sorts of scavenged materials. Jinks died in early April.

Both shows continue through July 22. 90 Carlton St., Athens. 706-542-4662,

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