Friday, August 28, 2015

Flowing In, Flowing Out

Joint Lab -August 27, 2015 by Susan Weinberg
Last night was closing day for the third Artists' Lab exhibition. We gathered in the gallery and each of us shared with our fellow artists the process behind our work.
I always feel like an apology is necessary when I attempt a recap as I can't capture all of the artists' work in the space of a blog post, particularly as the number of artists grows. I shall leave it to the catalog to do that. With apologies to those I missed, here is but a sampling to reflect the efforts of the year 3 lab artists.

Outside of the gallery we were greeted with three images. Ann Ginsburgh Hofkin shared her photograph of a wave on aluminum. Frozen in the moment, it evokes that moment when the Red Sea parted for the Israelites.
Next to it Jonathan Gross presented us with a highly detailed panoramic image of the river. It was so rich with story that I found myself imagining using it in a classroom as the impetus for students to construct narratives. On the far left he captured a group of kayakers, a serendipitous event that his process allowed him to replace within the panorama. On his right you can see a the painting by Sandra Felemovicius that seeks to capture reflections within the water.
That was our warm-up. Now we entered the gallery. One of the things that I especially liked about this show were the interactions between artwork. Often it seemed to me that they were having conversations. Let's listen in...
Joel Carter's rock sculpture seemed to be working the room, creating interesting vantage points in relation to other works. Joel realized that his well polished river rocks that he uses in his carefully balanced sculptures come from... water! Below (left) you can see his work chatting up Rani Halpern's layered, dyed and cut image that is based on a midrash of God dividing the waters into sky and ocean. When those below protested their perceived lower status, God took his finger and tore the waters apart. The warm colors of the rocks also frame Susan Armington's Waters of Babylon (right). the land of exile for the Jews and the modern day Iraq.

Near Susan's work you can see Sylvia Horwitz's amazingly Biblical photograph of a tumultuous sky over still waters, the firmament in-between.
Alison Morse's words trace the form of an Italian river on the floor below even as they tell the tale of an Italian Jew. But it does more than that, it guides us in and out of the gallery, directing us along the river to the artwork that surrounds it.
Susan Weinberg's diptych on water and memory conversed with Bonnie Heller's reminder of the two worlds between which we can choose. Several people jotted memories that they had shared with those who lost memory for the memory jar that sits before the paintings.

The shape and concept of the tear or raindrop was echoed in both Leah Golberstein's sculpture of stones and salt, Liba Zweigbaum Herman's water ketubah and Rani Halpern's chain of rain drops. Leah's work is based on a midrash about how God offered Adam and Eve the "tear" as a release and solace upon their exit from Eden. Liba invites each of us to pledge our commitment to managing our water resources, all framed in the form of a ketubah, a contract with our guest of honor- water.

Many of the artists talked of how the lab had encouraged them to try new mediums or approaches. Rani spoke of how the layered approaches in her work were new to her since the lab. Notice above how the shadows on the wall in her work add yet another layer to her multi-layered work. Sylvia referenced her more typical work of documentary photos versus the work she has produced in the lab. There have also been some collaborations. Sylvia Horwitz and Susan Armington collaborated on a show this year while Louise Ribnick and Diane Pecoraro collaborated on their lab exhibit - artwork and a prose poem around the theme of seltzer (below).

The approaches were unique and varied and most certainly creative. Jodi Rosen (above right) laminated text and placed it in water, then stirred it as she photographed it.
Judy Snitzer (left) combined paint, collage, wood and text describing our relationship to water from Eden forward. And like several of us she built upwards. The more artists we have the less horizontal space is available and so we build our skyscrapers of art.
And as I can't capture everyone's work, here are some quick views of the gallery before we sadly dismantled it.
Finally that bittersweet moment when we removed our work from the gallery arrived.