Asya Geisberg, a painter and Jew from St. Petersburg, has lived in the U.S. since 1977. She opened her eponymous gallery in 2010, favoring exhibitions that encompass the crossing of cultures. This summer’s group show, “Centaurs & Satyrs,” on view until August 17, is dedicated to the notion of hybridity. Mythological creatures with magical powers, centaurs and satyrs are fusions of man and horse, or man and goat.
All of the seven artists featured in the show use combinations of materials to create composite images, and each separate material brings its own properties. For example, Naomi Safran-Hon, an Israeli artist living in the U.S., applies cement and lace to an inkjet photograph. The cement implies grittiness and heft, and when one thinks of its use in the construction of foundations and walls, its meaning develops. Attach some lace and the canvas develops further. Not only the textures of the materials but also their functions infiltrate the work.
In Safran-Hon’s artist’s statement, she states her concern with Middle Eastern politics. Her piece, “One Green Line,” is made of cement, thread and fabric enclosed in a wood frame. The title clues the viewer in to the concept. Looking at the chaotic knots of thread and fabric embedded in the concrete, one experiences the consequences of trying to separate populations by erecting borders, real or imaginary. The fact that the lines in the piece are threads that are not straight, and that do not divide but tangle in confusion, reflects the sense of mayhem that this particular separation has caused.