Friday, November 25, 2016

Otherworldly art by Dana Barnes, created in a 19th-century synagogue

By Natasha Wolff
A view of the mikvah at the former synagogue the artist Dana Barnes bought in 2013 to use as her studio and occasional living space. Credit Emiliano Granado
Over 100 years ago, European Jews worshiped and bathed in the rooms of a building on New York City’s Forsyth Street that housed both a synagogue and a mikvah, a small, rainwater-filled pool considered a gateway to purity and holiness. Today Dana Barnes and her staff of artisans create handmade textiles of vivid hues and knotty textures next to the stone walls where that thousands-year-old ritual was once performed. It took Barnes some time to feel comfortable working here: “I wanted to make sure I wasn’t violating the space.” In the raw, unvarnished rooms, her handmade creations look as if they were conceived by the building itself. [link]
In 2013, Dana Barnes (pictured here) and her husband, Dale Westhoff, acquired a building on Forsyth Street in New York that was once a synagogue. It took time for her to feel comfortable working there. Credit Emiliano Granado