Lynne Avadenka

Artist Lynne Avadenka’s work finds homes in exhibitions in Detroit, Jerusalem and around the world.

Photos courtesy of Lynne Avadenka

It’s a four-exhibit milestone for Lynne Avadenka and print art enthusiasts.
In October, Avadenka will be represented in four overlapping exhibits — two local, one in Jerusalem and one touring.

“Intimations,” her first solo show in 10 years, will be on view Oct. 4-Nov. 23 at K. Oss Contemporary Art in Detroit. “PaperWorks,” a group show curated by Meighan Jackson for the Janice Charach Gallery in West Bloomfield, is scheduled Oct. 27-Dec. 5.

“Living Under Water,” a group show based on Jewish thinking about climate change, runs Oct. 11-Nov. 28 in Jerusalem. “Breathing Mud: The Lesson of the Golem,” introduces “AI: More Than Human,” which explores ideas of artificial intelligence and is touring outside the United States.

“It’s great to be part of these almost-simultaneous exhibitions,” says Avedenka, active in the Detroit arts community since receiving a master’s degree from Wayne State University in 1981. “An artist works alone, but the hope is to have opportunities to share what’s created.

“Throughout my career, I’ve always looked to Jewish culture as a resource, and I’m always interested in the traditional sources; but as a contemporary artist, I try to find a way to share that with a larger audience.”

The artist, who explores image and text with ideas connected to book format and content, began sharing her skills more intensively after 2013, when she was named director of Signal-Return, a Detroit nonprofit letterpress print shop and community arts center. She lives in Huntington Woods.

The “Empty Cities” grouping has prints related to the Book of Lamentations

“‘Intimations,’ the solo show, is a mix of not-so-old and very new work,” says Avadenka, 64, who was presented with a Career Achievement Award in 2016 from the Fine and Performing Arts Department at Wayne. “None of the pieces have been exhibited in Detroit.”

“Traces,” one series represented, holds photos of floor shadows she noticed while viewing a New York exhibit. The shadows were made by jeweled objects linked to medieval Jerusalem. “The Reunion of Broken Parts” shows prints with algebra terms she found in an old dictionary. The “Empty Cities” grouping has prints related to the Book of Lamentations and includes ovals as symbols of overlapping connections.

A journal page from The Book of Venice

A mixed media piece about 12 feet across and including nontraditional letterpress printmaking and collage, has text addressing climate change and connects to her interests in the “Jerusalem Biennale,” which showcases the work of 200 international artists working in groups of individuals as they react, in various forms of artistry, to different themes.

“A suite of prints gives my impressions for ‘Living Under Water,’” says Avadenka, who spent three weeks in Venice with four other artists to create pieces inspired by the climate-challenged city as well as related commentary by Jewish scholars from various disciplines.
The experience in Italy was sponsored in part by Beit Venezia-A Home for Jewish Culture in preparation for the Jerusalem Biennale.

“There’s some kind of mystery in my work, so when viewers see it they’re actively engaged in responding to whatever I’ve created,” says Avadenka, whose projects are in the permanent collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Jewish Museum in New York and the Museum Meermanno in The Hague, among other prestigious art centers.


“I did a book years ago about the Golem, and that’s part of the exhibition that is traveling around the world,” Avadenka explains. “It’s about creating another life force and, in that way, it’s kind of an introduction to the exhibition about artificial intelligence now and the ethical issues that must be dealt with.”

Avadenka will be a speaker at the Charach Gallery exhibition, where seven Metro Detroit artists will show work on paper and challenge notions of paper obsolescence. She will offer a series of collages, “Sacred Art: Early Hebrew Printing,” inspired by the role of women in crafting religious books.

“Printshops were in homes and women worked beside their husbands and fathers under circumstances that sometimes had them taking charge,” explains the artist, who will go into detail at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17. “The women set their names in type, and we can see this.”


Lynne Avadenka’s local exhibits run Oct. 4-Nov.23 at the K. Oss Gallery, 1410 Gratiot, Detroit ( 559-2232) and Oct. 27-Dec. 5 at the Janice Charach Gallery in West Bloomfield ( 432-5579).