The Museum of Arts and Culture at New Rochelle High School is pleased to present The Fiddle, a solo exhibition of paintings by 93 year-old Holocaust survivor and painter Fred Terna.
Drawing from his experience of the Holocaust, Terna’s paintings address the psychological space of trauma. The works on view in the two galleries span from 1970 to the present, and focus on themes of imaginary temples, gates, and passways, as well as abstract compositions and the human figure.
After surviving the Holocaust, Terna’s imagery was understandably horrific, tending towards subjects like execution walls, fire, and ash. Over time, Terna’s focus shifted to subjects like the Western Wall in Jerusalem, which are the subject of his paintings in the small gallery. They showcase Terna’s subconscious desire to move away from anguish and towards the sublime. Using acrylic and aggregates—sand and pebbles he collected from various beaches and deserts—these landscapes are densely rendered with fortified walls and open gates, suggesting a place of refuge. His floating figures, similarly rendered, are representations of exaltation and freedom.
The figures continue into the second gallery, reinforcing the idea of liberation. Also on view are paintings that touch on the difficulty of assimilating back into society (On Being Left With a New Name, 1980; A Gathering of Momentum, 1976; and Afterwards, Emergence, 1977); and a recent series of passways, portals, and gates from 2016-17.