When Bette Levy’s “Rebirth” opens Friday at PYRO Gallery, it’ll show tangible proof of human endurance from the eyes of an artist.
“Rebirth” follows Levy’s two previous shows, “Before” and “… And After,” which featured her renowned embroidery work prior and shortly after the untimely death of her husband of 25 years in 2016. The new exhibit is very much as hopeful as it is inspiring.
“The title ‘Rebirth’ reflects the healing and rejuvenation that has come in the ensuing three years,” Levy tells Insider. “The work also shows new directions, mediums and processes. There is only one piece that uses the embroidery for which I am most known.”
Levy, a longtime PYRO member, says the years after her husband’s death were filled with a few ups and many downs. But last summer, she decided to take a trip to Japan as part of a World Shibori Symposium seminar and tour, supported in part by the Great Meadows Foundation.
It was on this trip she found that spark to create again — and create in new ways.
“Prior to the trip, my creative energies were pretty depleted as a result of my husband’s death three years ago,” she says. “I created art during those three years, but found I was doing it more out of a sense of obligation than a desire to create. Since the Japan trip, I have re-found joy in creating and have been vigorous producing art once again.”
There are 22 pieces in “Rebirth,” and many of them show off Levy’s new style. She says she’s looking forward to seeing how the viewing public will respond to her art.
“While there are some familiar techniques, such as gutwork and large-scale crochet with rusted implements, there are also new techniques and mediums, many inspired by my trip to Japan,” she adds.
Some of those new mediums include work with spun paper, knitted wire and boro (the Japanese technique of mending and patching).
Levy is grateful to be creating again, even if it’s in different ways than embroidery, a craft she learned as a child from her mother and grandmother. She’s also grateful to be moving forward.
“Having regained my creative spark, ‘Rebirth’ is a show that looks forward,” she says. “It is much more experimental, more playful and optimistic.”
“Rebirth” opens Friday, Feb. 15, with a free reception from 6 to 9 p.m. A gallery talk with Levy will take place on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 10 a.m. The exhibit continues through March 23. PYRO Gallery is located at 1006 E. Washington St.