Juliet Gilden, a nationally acclaimed artist who exhibited a one-woman show at the Los Angeles-based M+B contemporary art gallery for an audience of movie- and music-industry performers and executives, is returning to her local roots with her presentation of “Drawn,” which will be on display at the Peggy and Yale Gordon Center for Performing Arts through the end of February. An artist’s reception will also be held on Feb. 26 at 12:30 p.m.
Gilden’s work is heavily influenced by her experiences of both antisemitism and racism as a young girl growing up in Owings Mills. She now hopes to bring awareness and enact change through her brightly colored designs with clear social messages.
Gilden points out that artists “have a megaphone” to bring awareness and enact change.
“It’s extremely gratifying to be celebrated around the country, but there is nothing like presenting my work in the Pikesville-Owings Mills area in the heart of the world where I grew up and was tremendously influenced,” says the 54-year old, who has a studio in Baltimore. “I came to Owings Mills as a child as part of a migration of Jewish Baltimoreans and still remember that a swastika was painted on the new home of one of my friends and was horrified.”
“A child has no voice to speak up in the face of that,” she continues. “The negative memories last forever. But as an artist, I have a powerful megaphone. And to me, this is the most meaningful place I could exhibit.”
Gilden’s show in LA helped fund efforts to fight racism and antisemitism in entertainment with her portraits of historic and courageous Jewish and Black women who, in many cases, have used their fame to take crucial moral stands. These are also the themes of many of the paintings that will be on display at the Gordon Center.
Gilden grew up just minutes from the Owings Mills Jewish Community Center. She graduated from Owings Mills High School and continued her education at the Maryland Institute College of Art and Towson University.
Although her Baltimore roots run deep, in the last several years, her work has been shown around the country as much as it has locally. In 2020, for example, her portrait of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was prominently featured in The Washington Post’s coverage of the historic justice’s death. The artist primarily paints acrylics on paper and canvas.
Gilden’s art is also the inspiration for a new animated music video soon to be released by the performer, writer and composer Laurie Geltman.
According to her website, Gilden’s free-form style depicts the world as she sees it: sunny, funny and optimistic. She is influenced by an eclectic mix of styles and artists — everything from surrealism to realism, Botticelli to Botero. Mostly, however, she is inspired by the works of her own mother, Miriam Bransky Gilden, a respected professional artist of more than 60 years before she passed away in October 2013.
‘Something with a message’
“Featuring prominent local artists is among the most important missions of the Gordon Center, and her show is both powerful and memorable,” says Melissa Seltzer, senior director of arts and culture at the Gordon Center. “This is a very important show to us, and attendees will not soon forget her creativity.”
Seltzer explains that “this represents the first artist collaboration in the newly renovated gallery of our performing-arts center, and we wanted to feature someone with a noteworthy career. We felt that Juliet appeals to audiences like ours that love beauty but also want something with a message.”
The artist’s reception on Feb. 26 at 12:30 p.m. is open to the public and free to attend. All of the paintings will be up for sale.
For more information, call 443-983-4140 or visit: www.julietspaintings.com.