A Jewish guy’s idea on viewing art, and the new exhibit to try it out


Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content Officer

At the start of 2022, my goals were to be more creative, get more satisfaction out of life and find more happiness. One of the ways I’m doing this is to add more art to my life — more live music, more book reading, and more visits to art galleries. Along with patronizing art, I also want to learn how to enjoy it more, especially visual art. What kept me from enjoying art in the past was believing that I didn’t understand it. I was wrong, so I created my own way of understanding and viewing art.

Viewing art: Developing a methodology

Instead of using someone else’s understanding to interpret art, I wanted to form my own method. I find it overwhelming to enter a gallery space and try to absorb everything, so I’ve developed a simple internal methodology that I think anyone who has no background in art history, or appreciation, might find useful.

First, I let my eye get captured. If something attracts your attention, don’t fight it, just go with it.

When I arrive at the piece, I avoid any written descriptions so as to not have preconceived thoughts about what the art is, and what it means. Now I can create my own narrative. I look at colors and textures and let the composition come together in my mind. Then I notice the emotion I’m feeling. Next, I imagine the artist’s motive, and look for “whys.” “Why did he/she do that, and do that there?  I don’t feel the need to get a look at the piece from every angle, but I do move around. I want to ensure that I’m seeing it all, and I look to see if the artist is trying to move my eye.

Lastly, after I think I have a story in my mind, I read the information provided, and see how close I came to matching up with what the artist’s intentions were. I am usually never close, which is actually very satisfying.

Viewing art: What art is and isn’t

Art doesn’t have to be expensive to make it valuable or to create an environment that reflects your mood.  But you must love it.

“Art is like the color black, it goes with everything,” said Maneta Siegel, director of The Gallery At The District. “If a work of art makes you smile, think, wonder or imagine, if you still think of that painting or sculpture that you saw, revisit it.  Art can change your mood or your outlook.”

Siegel too has her own methodology in how she views the hundreds of pieces in The Gallery collection.

“When I first see a painting, I am attracted to the color or composition. But it is often the story behind it and the artist that makes me love it.  Art should always be hung and your eye level, so that you can be drawn in and see the art as it is meant to be seen.”

Viewing art: New exhibition 

I plan on utilizing my method next weekend, when a new exhibition featuring local artists opens at The Gallery At The District, in Chesterfield. The two-day show opens Friday, April 22, from 4 to 8 p.m. and continues Saturday, from 1 to 4 p.m.

To attend, simply send an email to [email protected] or call 314-356-0223.

The artists

This art show features multiple works from 13 St. Louis area artists, several of whom are Jewish, representing a wide selection of styles and mediums, paintings, photography and sculptures, all unique and original works of art.

They are:

Tom Blood
Mark Witzling
Jay Hellwege
Barb Flunker
Gary Kodner
Rachel Ferguson
Jim Trotter
Lenore Pepper
Diane Katzman
Marshall Williams
Tracu Estelle
Sandy Shapiro
Brian Walsh

“They bring a modern, contemporary, colorful, and fun vibe to this area of St. Louis,” said  Siegel.


“Tom Blood has a wide array of surreal art, very tongue in cheek. Jim Trotter’s extraordinary photographic images are unmatched in the world, today, he is truly one of the absolute best!  I love the colors and textures of Barb Flunkers work, the soft and complicated abstracts by Mark Witzling, the dramatic layering of paints with the art of Marshall Williams, and the portraits by Rachel Ferguson are fantastic, she could be my favorite portrait artist, ever!”

— Maneta Seigel, on the artists

“Lenore Peppers’ paintings bring an elegance that is a continuation of her designer background. James Ibur throws clay like no other, so many great sculptures and vessels to choose from. I am in love with the new abstracts by Tracy Estelle, she brings vibrancy and color to the fray. Jay Hellweges paintings remind me of Pierre and Henri Matisse, they are sculptural with the paint application and whimsical. Diane Katzman is a creative guru who incorporates a bit of glam in all that she creates, and Dale Dicker makes ordinary steel into extraordinary sculptures.

— Maneta Siegel, on the artists