“The Legacy of Lena Pack” marks the beginning of Beth-El Congregation’s 2019 Art Exhibit program. Pack was a Bedford painter, sculptor, colorist, printmaker and art teacher; her art will fill the walls of the Beth-El boardroom through the end of April.
Beth-El Congregation will host a combined Shabbat service with Congregation Beth Shalom at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, followed by a reception for many of Pack’s friends and admirers to view the exhibit.
Pack, who died in 2016 at age 88, was both a congregant and a longtime religious school teacher at Arlington’s Beth Shalom. Raised in New York City, she was the daughter of an engraver and attended a high school for the visual arts. Later, while working at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, she met and married a Jewish man, Isaac Pack. Widowed at a relatively young age, she subsequently converted to Judaism and worked as a travel agent and a nurse.
Upon retiring, she took up art and moved to Bedford in the early 1990s to care for her ailing sister. Although she was a painter, sculptor and printmaker, painting was her primary form of visual expression and way to tell a story. Inspired by family, friends, Judaism and her travels, her paintings were signed L.I. Pack, the “I” in memory of her husband, Isaac.
For nearly three decades, her work was showcased at numerous galleries in Texas, culminating with displays at her studio in the Stock Yards Rodeo Plaza Art Gallery. There, she sold her collages, drawings and intensely colorful canvases. For admirers with little money to spend, Pack turned reproductions of her work into note cards.
Pack’s many friends each have several of her works of art in their homes. “Her identity was synonymous with her art,” close friend Christine Posnock said.
In an artist’s statement, Pack said of herself: “Painting has always been my primary visual expression…Fantasy, childhood, mythology, and primitive innocence are all grist for my imaginative mill…I am compelled to embody texture on canvas and to explore that fascination with sculpture, collage, print making and fabric art…I fortify my colorist approach with strong design elements. The content is determined by my feeling for the subject. When the feeling has been truly expressed, it is evident to all. Ultimately, my responsibility is to be true to my vision.”