An exhibition recently on view at Fridman Gallery in Soho was “The World and Its Things In The Middle of Their Intimacy” by Eyes Towards The Dove contributor, artist and curator Sarah Walko. On view until December 27th, 2013, the exhibition featured the artwork of five different artists including Ira Eduardovna, Jay Gould, Dana Levy, Robert Lobe and Lucia Papco. Each contribution is a silent contemplation of space, nature and our place in it. From the press release, “By inhabiting the space between multiple simultaneous worlds, the works in this exhibition offer a unique vantage point illuminating how our reality is profoundly integrated with many other complex and mystical realms; the collusion of the past, present and future; and our relationship with the animate and inanimate.”
And so the exhibition was, a journey into a netherworld ripe with mystique and the irrationality of nature.
Before even entering the gallery, the viewer was presented with “Mineral Vitrails” by Dana Levy, visible from the street, the work appeared to be a scientific layout, acetate on a lightbox. Another of Levy’s works, “Aftermath” (2009) was directly inside to the right, a mysterious video of a flooded, urban landscape. It is unclear if the scene is actual or constructed but upon closer inspection, it becomes more apparent that the set has been constructed, an ethereal adaptation of a natural disaster. Towards the end of the six-minute loop, two swans swim into our field of view. This particular work assisted at setting the tone for the exhibition. Diagonally across from this work was “Dryad” (2012) by Robert Lobe. The free-standing sculpture is constructed of hammered aluminum and documents a particular tree whereas the artist placed the aluminum around the tree to make a mold p then hammered the foil directly, without harming the tree. The exhibition also had two prints by Lucia Papco titled “That Country I & II” respectively, both 2012 and four pigment prints by Jay Gould dates ranging from 2006-2012. Similar to Dana Levy’s work in emotional speed and melancholic content was “The Cherry Orchard” by Ira Eduardovna, a two-channel video, one on the plaster mold of a wooden door and a second projection on sheet rock, both leaned against a far back wall. The work guest stars the artists family who are based in Israel, Eduardovna’s country of origin. A quiet portrait, it hints at migration and movement due to centrally located suitcases in the room with various family members seated in a semi-circle. At the end of the loop they stand, take their suitcases and leave the frame. On this work, she states,
In this piece I was thinking of the last scene in “The Cherry Orchard” by A.Chekhov, wherein the family is about to leave their beloved home and the sounds of their cherry trees being chopped is heard in the background. In my piece, each channel shows two different times – one channel shows the moment before the family’s departure, when they sit together by an empty window. The second channel shows another non-descript time, where the room is empty and the cherry trees are blooming [evident through a window, lower right of the projection].
I wanted the viewers to question what happened first – did the family leave after the cherry trees were chopped or did the cherry tree bloom after the family left, what is past and what is present.
This other, unreachable time when the cherry trees bloom, whether if it’s a memory or a fantasy, is the time that this family is longing for.
Sarah Walko brought together different artists who communicated silently and thematically under the pretense of the title, “The World and Its Things In The Middle of Their Intimacy”. As viewers we were given the chance to question, whose intimacy? Was the intimacy something conjured by the artists, the curator or the visitors to the gallery? When one stepped into the space, unexpectedly sheltered from the busy city streets, the world became a bit more intimate. As with most art viewing, we take what we are willing to give. Strength can often lie in the hands of the curator, gallerist and artist/s who can alter a mood, bore, or surprise with installation style, aesthetic content and overarching theme, if any. “The World and Its Things In The Middle of Their Intimacy” like most shows, required time but if granted was sure to fascinate and if you were lucky, maybe even lower your blood pressure offering an escape from the “noise” echoing in the urban jungle just outside the gallery door.
“The World and Its Things In The Middle of Their Intimacy” was curated by Sarah Walko and on view at Fridman Gallery from November 15th until December 27th, 2013. Next up in the gallery is “Who Know The Storm” curated by Maureen Sullivan with work by Greta Alfaro, Julia Chiang, James Clar, Richard Garet, Pryce Lee, Naama Tsabar, and Dustin Yellin. On view January 16 – February 15, 2013 Fridman Gallery, 287 Spring Street (@ Hudson Street), NY
Note: featured image is a video still from Dana Levy’s “Aftermath”, 2009