The Visual Arts Program of the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University will present “Mothers,” an exhibition by senior Zahava Presser of a series of paintings, prints, video and audio exploring the evolution of two great-grandmothers’ stories through family lore. The work will be on view March 6 through March 10 in Room 301 at 185 Nassau Street. A reception with the artist will be held on March 9 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.
Through “Mothers,” Presser tackles the handed-down memories of two of her great-grandmothers, Rose and Goldie, both of whom emigrated from Eastern Europe to New York City. Presser was interested in how these two specific figures survived through family stories, whereas other ancestors did not. Her two great-grandmothers, who had significant impacts on her parents, have been associated with powerful visual images in Presser’s mind. In the process of creating the work that captured her relationship with family figures she had never met, Presser also began to pursue the factual history of these two women.
For her exhibition, Presser originally planned to work only in painting, but a current course in printmaking has led her to consider the reproduction in printmaking as a metaphor for both motherhood and the retelling of family stories. Just as no one version of a family story is exactly the same, each print contains distinguishing traits.
Presser came to Princeton knowing she wanted to continue painting and drawing, interests she pursued in high school. In addition to the printmaking course, she notes the impact of two painting courses with faculty member Pam Lins, both of which Presser said influenced her to paint more freely. Eve Aschheim, Presser’s junior and senior faculty advisor, has guided and encouraged her work for over a year. Presser’s English thesis is related to her exhibition: it explores Jewish-American children’s books, whose illustrations inspired her own form of visual storytelling. Along with a certificate in Visual Arts, Presser is also pursuing a certificate in Judaic Studies.
The exhibition is on view Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.