By Francine Miller, Artforum Critic
November 30, 2006

The twenty-two artists--selected by curators Mary Sherman (Director of TransCultural exchange), Joanne Silver (Boston correspondent for ARTnews) and Murray Forbes (Director of the Navigator Foundation)-- not only represent the United States, Australia, Taiwan, Latvia, Sweden, Germany and the United Arab Emirates, but their works “dazzle visually and conceptually” with the universality and quality of their vision. With over 25  digital and c-prints, acrylics on canvas, mixed media, sculpture, prints, fabric works and installations, the pieces dealt with a variety of formal and thematic concerns.

The photographs allude to landscapes and still-lifes in unconventional ways. Photographers Noland Bowie and Judy Ulman express their wonderment with nature in elegant details of trees and frost on a windowpane  (respectively). Bowie’s manipulated digital photograph of tree tops translate their delicate upper branches into ghostly arterial forms against a gold ground, while Ulman’s straight photograph Frost One, resonates with the artist’s fascination with the design created by frost. The contrast between the frost’s feathery forms and more textured areas suggests a chilly winter landscape itself.
           
Maggie Stark produced another spectral image in her large-scale photogram Nightlight #1, part of an ongoing series, created from a construction of scientific glassware, glass rods, fiberglass and gels.  According to Stark, “Light is manipulated to simultaneously delineate and dissolve the forms and constructions …”  Michal Rebibo’s digital photograph Textures of the Land #5 focuses close-up on Jerusalem’s aging and variously textured walls to simulate  microscopic landscapes. Vineta Kaulaca’s, color c-print The Trafffic Sign—The Time Sign 1, 1-111 seems a photographic homage to Magritte’s Magic Realism. In this image, the traffic sign has metamorphosed into a container for the surrounding landscape, much like the canvas in Magritte’s The Human Condition I  (1934), with its image and transparent canvas that manage to confound depicted art and the natural landscape.
           
The paintings included dealt with meditative abstraction. Bivas Chaudhuri’s geometric acrylic painting Connecting is reminiscent ofMondrian’s 1940 Broadway Boogie Woogie in its use of repetitive rectangular elements placed on a continuing grid. Joanne Handley, on the other hand, creates a Rothkoesque sublime image of floating rectangles, using a combination of numinous forms created with a combination of micaceous oxide and synthetic polymers on canvas.
           
Mixed-media 2-D works include  Bob Moses’ delicate book of transparent drawings, Urban Ramstedt’s use of photographs in his composition on painted glass, Dorothea Fleiss’  small, untitled abstract image of glued and painted bandages, and Jonathan Field’s yellow rubber surface bound by black and white digital photographs, Lacuna #13.  In a tiny retangle within  his monochromatic black square ground, Matthew Cox creates a kinetic cartoon of a walking man in My Hero Goes to Work everyday and Doesn’t Complain, a 36” x 36image combining, wood, motor, paint and graphite.
           
Works on paper included Massachusetts artist Lara Loutrel’s intaglio Belarus, a black and white abstract image suggesting a cityscape, and the United Arab Emirates artist Talal Moualla’s portrait, drawn on mixed papers.
           
Some of the most beautiful and adventurous works are the three dimensional pieces. Kathy Goodell’s forty acid etched sheets of glass, placed atop each other, create the illusion of a deep soft pond within their center in Sounding. Suzanne Muller-Baji pays homage to her family of writers by chaining together colored pencil stubs into a 22” ‘necklace”. Sasha Schwartz’s Diver consists of a doll-sized head and shoulders set into a blue gel. Peter Lindenmuth’s playful toolkit for a lady twirls around to showcase an array of  make-up; and Pan Ping-Yu’s fabric Sea Shell Crimson is a luscious lace, velvet and felted wool anthropomorphic form, intended to suggest a lyrical metaphor for a mysterious shell-like entity. Equally poetic is the miniature sweater placed in a Petri dish by Mary Elizabeth van der Cross.  Her Vaccinations against Corporations is part of a series of tiny knitted garments that not only elevate knitting to an art form, but also have powerful conceptual depth. Bryan Warner’s sewn together twenty transparent plastic storage bags provide a cover for an empty soap dispenser, meant to mock the artist’s struggles to have “order, cleanliness and purity in his life.”
           
A tiny painted rock by Hung Hsin-Chuang seems to sum up the major themes of the show. Painted with small circles, which merge together into an elegant pattern, this  orb suggests the commonalities between artists throughout the world and the desire to bring them together—which is a mission of TransCultural Exchange.

 




  

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