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August 19, 1988 - Image 66

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-08-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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ENTERTAINMENT

the composition itself,
without distraction.
"I do not do realistic work,"
she says. "While it's true
there are wonderful represen-
tative artists, I prefer to leave
realism to our marvelous
photographers. Furthermore,
I don't believe I was meant to
imitate nature. God did a ter-
rific job, and I am certainly
not going to try to do better."
Zalla is a very committed
synagogue member and
credits her mother with hav-
ing taught her the impor-
tance of tzedakah. "My
mother said that my talent
was a gift from God and that
I must never forget the im-
portance of giving something
back to the community."
Her volunteer leadership at
Congregation Shaarey Zedek
is Zalla's way "of giving
back." As a synagogue board
member, she has chaired
numerous cultural programs
and has also contributed her
artistic talents to invitations
and programs.
In addition to her
synagogue work, Zalla's list
of community involvements
is long. She also is particular-
ly partial to Channel 56 and
serves on the special advisory
committee for the station's
annual art auction. "My
children grew up with Chan-
nel 56. They offer wonderful
programming, and it's very
important that we support
it."
Well beyond the Sesame
Street years, Zalla's children,
Lisa andSteven, have both
been very supportive of
Mom's career. Lisa is a
Wayne State senior, and
Steven is a junior at
Michigan State University.
"They used to dread coming
with me to art shows because
I have to go through slowly
and see everything, but
recently Steven told me that
he feels that my art has made
me a more interesting mom."
Husband Harvey is a den-
tist who, according to his
wife, confines his artistry to
doing some "beautiful
cosmetic dentistry."
While certain artists resent
viewers who attempt to give
their paintings definitions
which may be totally alien to
the artist's original inspira-
tion, Zalla sees this dilemma
as quite the opposite. She
regards her art as a dialogue
between herself and the
viewer.
"When I paint, I am at-
tempting to establish com-
munication between myself
and my audience. My pain-
tings are my response to
nature, but if someone else
views a paricular piece dif-
ferently from the way I in-
tended it, that's perfectly all
right with me."

Collage is a favorite technique of artist Zalla.

Zalla recalls once having
painted a picture stimulated
by a trip to the Southwest. At
an exhibit, an old Jewish lady
fell in love with it because she
told the artist, "It's about
Israel. I see Jerusalem."
"How could I possibly crush
her and deny her response?"
Zalla asks.
While she has worked
through galleries and used to
take her paintings to art
fairs, today Zalla looks to
three main sources for her
sales: out-of-state represen-
tatives in New York and
Florida, interior designers,
and client referrals.
"When I do a work on corn-
mission, I have to get into so-
meone else's thoughts, their
environment, and what
pleases them."
She sees commissioned art
as "a different kind of
challenge" that requries an
extra dimension of sensitivi-
ty. Zalla interviews the pro-
spective owner, or owners, for
a number of hours. "I need to
understand their likes and
dislikes, their lifestyle, their
environment, if they have
any opposition to a particular
color. I don't find that this
compromises my integrity as
an artist."
She points out that most of
her clients are already
familiar with her work and
rarely come to her and say
"Paint me something to go
with my blue couch." On the
other hand, Zalla says that it
is important to understand
what pleases the person who
will own the painting. "This
isn't new," she notes. "For
hundreds of years artists
have had to be responsive to
their patrons."
Zalla has done a number of
paintings for corporate set-
tings, among them the
Sheraton-Oaks Hotel, the
American Motors Building,
Sinai Hospital, and the

Ronald McDonald House. She
is particularly excited about
a recent commission for a
piece for the Tam O'Shanter
Country Club.
Zalla does not care to speak
as a woman artist and is con-
cerned about the tendency to
divide artists into categories.
"I am not a woman's libber.
I am a people libber. I am an
artist who happens to be
female. Art should break
down barriers, not erect
them."
In 1986 Zalla had the oppor-
tunity to appear as the guest
on a Cable TV program,
"AIM," where she was inter-
viewed in a two-part program
on individuals with unique
goals.
Whereas she has learned to
balance her acitivites in a
very satisfying manner, Zalla
admits that scheduling is
very important when an in-
dividual is trying to fulfill a
number of different roles.
When she's not painting,
working in the community, or
spending time with her fami-
ly, Zalla tries to take in as
many art exhibits as she can.
The artists she particularly
likes are those "who are the
most painterly — Renoir,
Manet, Monet and Turner,
and abstract expressionists
like Frankenthaler."
Does she appreciate every
important piece of art? "Of
course not," she admits.
"Even the famous artists
have had their weaker
moments." ■

Music Study
Club Concert

Music Study Club of
Metropolitan Detroit will
hold its annual Artist Con-
cert at 3 p.m. Oct. 9 at Or-
chestra Hall. For information,
call Marilyn Ash, 398-8097,
or Ruth Widrich, 356-0187.

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