It is not often you get to know someone after they are gone. Anne and I have just had this experience. A few months ago we contacted Fara Wexler and asked her if we could host a Retrospective of the work of her late husband, Lee Wexler. She agreed wholeheartedly and the journey began.
We went to visit Fara, who we also did not know, at her home overlooking the ferry on Whidbey. The first thing that struck me was how gracious Fara was and then how much in love she was with her husband. They were lovers up to the end and you could feel it palpably when you entered the house. We began to tour the different rooms where the art we would be exhibiting was hanging. Each piece had a story behind it and as we went along Fara would fill us in on each one.
It turns out Lee was painting images of the Northwest before he ever laid eyes on this place! He loved the sea so there were many images of the water with tide pools or sun shining across the water and mountains in the distance. These were amazing to see in the context of their home because you could tell immediately where his inspiration he was channeling came from just looking out the window.
But beyond landscapes you could tell people were really important to this man. Not just any people but people who had interesting stories to tell. People waiting at bus stops…each person has a totally different look and demeaner and you begin to wonder… where are they going, or why does the lady on the bench look so tired? People who survived the Holocaust who don’t look sad and defeated and you begin to wonder… how do people who went thru such atrocities still find happiness? A stunning portrait of a beautiful woman “Behind the Bamboo Curtain” and you start to wonder… what happened to her? Is she in a concentration camp or just standing behind a bamboo door?
As you can tell, our tour was profound, not only because we came away in awe of Lee Wexler the artist but also because we were privy to an intimacy few ever experience between a lovely woman and her beloved husband. These two people were lovers, colleagues and artists that loved life and each other. What a gift it was to get to know them. We are honored and privileged to host this special exhibit.
I hope you also can come get to know them at the Artist Reception which opens Lee Wexler’s show on January 7 from 5-7PM. Fara will be here along with her son Mark. It promises to be an extraordinary event!