Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Art Review: The WAH Center Does It Again

Another pretty amazing group show up at the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center. This one features a “younger generation” of women born after 1950, up through the end of May. Many highlights, probably as many as last year’s vastly diverse exhibit.

 

Nivi Alroy contributes an intense collection of mixed media, notably a tall (seven-foot) sculpture of a bombed-out house sitting in an upturned dresser drawer, the scorched face of a stuffed rabbit fixing its stare from a second story window. There’s also a rustic woodcut of a collapsing industrial area juxtaposed with a reflection below, a daguerreotype-style view of workers staring at themselves in the water. Andrea Cukier has three green-tinted, stylized medieval Chinese-inflected pondscapes: as with so much of her work, she makes the heat and humidity visceral.

 

Shan Shan Sheng has a number of strikingly colorful, heavy glass sculptures here including an absolutely haunting, orange-tinted undersea scene and a couple of massive bells, one of them abruptly upturned. Bahar Behbahani has both a murky, out-of-focus wallsize umber-tinged portrait of a family staring out from their couch, Arabic calligraphy and musical notes floating overhead, as well as an unsettling 3-D piece, a dense mandala-like figure on a screen a couple of inches above a second, painted level, obscuring more calligraphy and a dead sheep on its back.

 

Even more provocative were a series of bombs (their noses, to be precise, seemingly fashioned from restaurant-sized carbon dioxide canisters) by Leonor Mendoza. Adorned with earrings, peace signs, an animal figurine, lockets, charms, and most ominously, melted green plastic peoploids, they’re poignant and as understated as bombs can be. 

 

Of the best-known artists on display here, Judy Chicago is represented by a trio of black-and-white woodcuts, the earth mother under siege, as well as a sculpture study from The Dinner Party, part of the plate eerily peeling back. There are also prints and a striking, colorful wallsize painted quilt depicting a jazz trio and its unperturbable frontwoman from Faith Ringgold.

 

But the most striking of all the images here was the live installation by Olek (Agata Oleksiak) and Naomi White. They’d positioned a group of people in colorful, full-body knitwear, their faces hidden, lazing around a living room, watching tv, the screen depicting the struggles of someone in an all-white bodysuit, seemingly in a lot of pain and trying to escape. Abu Graib, anybody? Talk about making an impact!

 

Over by the Nivi Alroy section, classical guitarist Margaret Slovak played warmly and virtuosically. You probably won’t get to hear her or be taken in by the Olek/Naomi White installation, but the show is a must-see if you’re in Williamsburg – it’s only a couple of minutes from the J/M stop at Marcy Ave., 135 Broadway on the south side of Williamsburg, about a block past Bedford as you walk toward the water. Hours are Saturday-Sunday noon-6 PM.

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April 28, 2009 Posted by | Art, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment