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CBSRZ in Chester: Art and Film

Soul of the Landscape: An Exhibition of Fine Art Photography by Peter Wnek

Award-winning photographer Peter Wnek explores the SOUL OF THE LANDSCAPE in
his upcoming exhibition of fine art photography at the Congregation Beth
Shalom Rodfe Zedek, now through July 28, with an Artist Reception on
Sunday, June 7 from 4-7 p.m.

SOUL OF THE LANDSCAPE celebrates the beauty and spirit of our woodlands and
waterways, as seen in Whispers of the Past and its breathtaking view along
the Connecticut River. Wnek’s work captures the light and details one might
expect from a painting—which is no accident. He has long been inspired by
the purity and innocence of the American landscape as portrayed by the 19th
century Hudson River painters. “I strive for that same warm light, the
luminous or stormy skies, to invoke a charm or a mood,” he explains.

Wnek’s photographs often reveal the story of the landscape—its whisper of
bygone days, the intrinsic cycles of nature. With a focus on local scenes,
this exhibit speaks to the beauty that surrounds us, the coastal vistas and
woodland spaces that are unique to our state. In a familiar kaleidoscope of
colors, see the rising and setting sun, the harmony of sky and land, the
collusion of rock and sea.

As Wnek explains, “I am intrigued by the soothing compositions and
repetitive patterns that collectively reveal the Divine at work.”

Featured in this exhibit is Silver Glade, an image of trees on a ridge near
Meriden. It recently won the Salmagundi Club of NYC’s 2015 “Henry O’Connor
Award” for excellence, portraying the gentler, quieter landscape of New

It is that voice of New England which Wnek most hopes to capture in his
photographs, “those intimate moments of our own landscapes” waiting to be

SOUL OF THE LANDSCAPE will run May 8 – July 28, 2015, Monday – Friday
10am-3pm at the Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, 55 East Kings
Highway, Chester, CT 06412. For gallery specific information, call
860-526-8920. For more information about photographer Peter Wnek, visit <>.


Image: Whispers of the Past, Connecticut River, Haddam CT, pigment ink
printed on cotton rag paper, 2012


Chester, CT. Complete with a red carpet, the Madison Art Cinemas will host
the June 14 world premiere of *We Built This House*, a one-hour film
telling the story of Chester synagogue Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek—known as a
global art landmark for being the only public building that acclaimed
artist Sol LeWitt ever designed. Film producer-director Jon Joslow, a
lifetime member of the Congregation, will discuss the movie and a reception
will follow the screening. Tickets are open to the public and may be
obtained for a donation of $18 each through the synagogue office, 860 526
8920. The start time is 11:00 am. Paparazzi are welcome.

In a 2013 profile,* Town & Country*’s arts editor compared the striking
Chester sanctuary with a masterpiece chapel Henri Matisse created in Nice,
France. But the synagogue, opened in 2001, started as a napkin sketch.
LeWitt first drew a structure inspired by traditional wooden temples of
Eastern Europe combined with elements of colonial New England barns. *We
Built This House* traces how architect Stephen Lloyd translated LeWitt’s
vision into post and beam, and how the Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek community
collaborated and improvised—even adapting a design discovered in a medieval
English watermill—to give structure to the sanctuary’s wooden dome.
LeWitt’s iconic installation on the ark drew national attention when the
building opened; it prompted *Town & Country* to observe “modern art as
[the sanctuary’s] focal point.” LeWitt, a Chester resident who died at 78
in 2007, is recognized as one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th
century. The sanctuary has become known as one of the most astonishing, and
spiritually welcoming, religious spaces in the world.

True to its roots, Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek has become one of the
shoreline’s most vital cultural centers. Its Music & More performances draw
hundreds and its art gallery features serial exhibitions from established
and breakthrough artists.

Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek—Hebrew for “House of Peace Pursuing Justice”—is
marking the 100th year since the founding of one of its two predecessor
temples in Moodus. *We Built This House* is part of yearlong centennial
celebrations culminating in an October 3 gala and the inaugural
presentation of the synagogue’s new annual Pursuer of Peace and Justice
Award. Though it is located in Chester, temple members come from 36 towns,
from West Hartford to Westbrook, Norwich to North Branford.

Producer/director Joslow is a crisis/transition leader for private equity who
spent a year mining the history of the congregation and its building. Given
time limitations in the documentary, which was conceived as a pilot, the
synagogue is developing a parallel video archive to capture stories of all
congregants who were part of the building’s creation. Beth Shalom Rodfe
Zedek is also positioning the film to encourage financial contributions to
support “Second Century” programming. Supporters can be listed in permanent
screen credits as producers.

DVDs of *We Built This House* are expected to be released later this year.
Given the film’s unique insights into art as architecture, and into how a
community can join together in creative enterprise, organizers anticipate
interest among public television stations, those engaged in architectural
and design collaborations, and art museums, in airing it following the

The Madison Art Cinemas is located at 761 Boston Post Road, Madison CT. For
more information on *We Built This House* or Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, see or Or contact Temple Administrator
Wendy Bayor at or 860-526-8920.

Wendy Bayor
Temple Administrator
Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek
860-526-8920 <>