September 22 - October 27, 2007
Featuring work by:
MARY LAREDO HERBECK
Curated by Vito Jesus Valdez
The Zeitgeist plays host to a powerful show of four distinct, yet complementary voices, all encompassing a multitude of roles that women play across all cultures: source of compassion, caregiver, healer, story teller, and life bringer.
Kathy Rashid has created a series of sculptural heads, masks twisted into tortured expressions. She captures an intense depth of expression, hauntingly beautiful in terms of the compassion she displays. The expressions are based on news photos of people suffering Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. They are the faces of people struggling to survive, to deal with the horrors that their everyday lives bring. In addition to the already rich source material that constitutes the imagery, Rashid brings in another layer of meaning by forming their paper “skins” with texts of emails that she’s exchanged about these people’s struggles over the last seven years. It’s a profound achievement, Rashid has brought the pain of their struggle to the forefront of our conscious, and long after we leave the gallery, the faces linger in our memory.
As Rashid gives voice to those in pain, Mary Laredo Herbeck’s objects are altar pieces to healing and the strength and courage necessary to find a place of health. Her three-dimensional compositions place together symbols of health, strength, body, faith – medicinal foods, pills, hair, copper vessels and coiled wire, crosses, drawn imagery, and other totems. They’re miniature ofrendas of sorts – visual poems offering a contemplative journey to work through from causes of sickness to sources of health. Laredo Herbeck has created works of beauty both in terms of the visual aesthetic and the strength of spirit that shines through.
Azucena Nava-Moreno has created beautiful objects, but work more in the service of narrative – stories of companionship, of loss – often centered on a dog. Her constructions are wonderfully inventive – as sculptural forms, with paintings within, often with movable parts revealing further layers to the story below – sometimes through a hinged door and in one, a series of panels to be removed from the belly of the main object, each containing a continuing element of her tale. The stories could come across as overly sentimental in the hands of another, but the sheer marvel of Nava-Moreno’s imagination in form and imagery is a delightful treat. More on some this work by her here.)
As we’ve moved from the tortured to the healing to the imaginative, we come to the delightful. Mary Fortuna makes a significant departure from the dark, creepy critters that she’s been known for, to making still quirky, but bright, childlike, lively, and playful animals all inhabitants of a tree of life. It’s a series of individual pieces – colorful, lively, happy turtles, dragonflies, and ravens, and it’s an installation – all together, residents of this celebratory tree. Fortuna’s contribution to the mix works, it allows us to laugh, to celebrate, to feel renewal – it’s a reminder that even though life is hard, it’s joyful.
All together Rashid, Laredo Herbeck, Nava-Moreno, and Fortuna, put on a sobering yet joyful experience. There’s a terrific dance of meaning and aesthetics going on between their works, making for a truly meaningful and rewarding experience for the viewer. In face of pain, loss, struggle, we find the strength and courage to persevere, to find beauty, and to create. – Nick Sousanis
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