IN THE NEWS: Center exhibits senior couple's art

Shani McManus, Staff Writer

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Jun 25, 2013

The fact that working artists Dr. Leslie Sher and wife Sydelle are both in their 80s is accomplishment enough, but their amazing body of artwork on display at the Weisman Delray Community Center is nothing short of mind-blowing.

The more than 50 combined works of art by the Delray Beach couple, who just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary, display an unbelievable scope of talent.

Sydelle Sher, age 80, works primarily in oil and captures the poignant emotions of her myriad subjects, which she sometimes takes from a newspaper clipping. Dr. Leslie Sher, on the other hand, uses countless, cut up postage stamps to produce highly creative and diverse renderings that include political portraits and subject such as pop singer Lady Ga Ga and rock musician Jimi Hendrix.

"Les and Sydelle Sher are not only amazingly talented artists, but also interesting, charming and wonderful people," said Ralph Papa, president of Boca Artists' Guild, an auxiliary of The Boca Raton Museum of Art, who arranged the exhibition. "After 60 years of marriage, they work in different styles and media, true to their own individual personalities.

Leslie Sher's compositions include famous people and places as well as children and pets. The exhibit includes 22 of his collages, including depictions of Walt Whitman, Dali, Picasso, Van Gogh, Frank Lloyd Wright's "Falling Water," the U.S. Capitol Building and the Statue of Liberty. Next to each original work is a blown up signed proof enabling the viewer to clearly see the artwork and the artist's intent.

"I find a picture that I think I want to stamp," Leslie Sher said. "If it's something that I like, I'll do it. Some of my pictures tell a story."

Sher, age 84, began to work in this particular medium only three years ago. His early interest in mechanical drawing led to a career in dentistry in the Detroit area, from which he retired in 1988 after 35 years of practice.

Sydelle Sher has been producing artwork for 20 years.

"Sydelle is a self-taught, excellent artist whose oil paintings of children and women reflect her own beautiful and sensitive personality," Papa said. "Her paintings are outstanding and attractive to all viewers of all ages, who cannot keep from smiling. Sydelle's modesty is surprising, but she is really at one with her art."

One of her painting, titled "Peace," depicts an Orthodox rabbi and an Arab in Israel conversing together.

"When I see a picture that shows emotion, especially a live person showing some emotion, I want to paint it," she said.

The Shers were also very active in restoration and preservation of the downtown section of the Village of Holly, Michigan, where they became developers of antique malls and dealers of antique furniture from the Arts and Crafts Period (1900-1916).

The Sher's daughter and son-in-law, Dr. Susan Baker and Ken Baker, a retired vice president of General Motors, visited the Weisman Center art exhibit while in town from Arizona to help celebrate their parent's wedding anniversary. Together with another daughter, Cara Zimmerman, who's also an artist, they had a book printed as an anniversary present containing a number of their parents artwork, along with a touching introduction.

"The only thing you can buy an artist is immortality," Ken Baker said.

"It's a gift for the family," Susan Baker said. "It's leaving a legacy."

The Weisman Delray Community Center, part of the Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service, is located at 7091 W. Atlantic Ave. in Delray Beach. Call 561-558-2100.

Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service (JFS) offers help, hope and humanity through a comprehensive range of programs and services which support people of all ages and beliefs. With locations in Boca Raton and Delray Beach, JFS programs and services include food and financial assistance, senior services, counseling and mental health services and many volunteer opportunities. Funding is provided by private and corporate support, grants, special events and individuals who reach thousands in need each year. For more information, contact 561-852-3333 or visit www.ruthralesjfs.org.

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