Imagine That New art exhibit highlights artists and their inspirations

Wilde Meyer Annex in Scottsdale opened about 20 years ago as an extension of Wilde Meyer Gallery, which has been showcasing contemporary and Western-themed art for decades.

“We wanted to have a presence on Main Street in addition to our Marshall Way location,” says Samantha Matkovich, a spokesperson for Wilde Meyer.

During January the Wilde Meyer Annex hosts “Imagine That,” a compilation of some of the gallery’s “most collected and imaginative artists’ works,” Matkovich says. The show features several artists including Judy Feldman, Stephen Morath, Chaille Trevor, Debora Stewart, Ron Russon and Albert Scharf.

Scharf is well known for his oil paintings on canvas or board and has been active as an artist for 17 years. “In general, my work conveys some sense of light in the painting,” he says. “I paint the light. With that as my mission, I seek the emotional content of color and color combinations.”  “As part of (my) practice, I express my Jewish and spiritual heritage through my calligraphy – Hebrew letters and the 72 names of G-d – and my abstract works, (including the) 10 plague series, and I’m presently working on a series based on the Genesis story of creation.”

Scharf, like many artists, says that his heritage and faith are integral parts of both his personal and professional identities. “My Jewish heritage touches all parts of my life,” he says. “As a routine practice, I have set up a small alter space with the Tree of Life; I use this as an integrated system to connect with the spirits of the upper world. I pray daily and light candles. I use the candles to connect with the day of the week and make myself available to that energy that day. This tool was developed for my own seeking of a spiritual awareness.”

“My ancestry is of Jews fleeing to America seeking political freedom,” he continues. “My paternal side of the family was ultra-Orthodox. I was very active when I was young going to temple regularly and keeping kosher. I’m sure these energies have seeped into my subconscious.”

While “Imagine That” features a handful of Jewish artists, the show is also home to a variety of artistic works from artists of all different backgrounds.

“What stands out about our ‘Imagine That’ show is that it highlights some of our most imaginative and talented artists,” Matkovich says. “This show would appeal to all art lovers.”

“Imagine That” opens to the public on Jan. 7 and closes on Jan. 30. The exhibit’s reception is on Jan. 28 from 7 to 9 pm at the Wilde Meyer Annex. The exhibit is hosted in conjunction with the Collector’s ArtWalk. Wilde Meyer Annex is located at 7100 Main St. in Scottsdale. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 10 am-5:30 pm, and Saturdays, 10 am-6 pm. The Annex is also open for ArtWalk every Thursday from 7 to 9 pm.

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