Remembering Things Past
Curated by John Cino & Jay Schuck
November 8 – December 20, 2014
Published in the December 2014 Issue of ACES Magazine
Now on view at the Patchogue Arts Gallery is Remembering Things Past, which features foreign-born artists that are presently living and working in the United States. The six artists presented in the exhibition arrived at different points in their lives and at different stages in their artistic career. Linda Abadjian and Shirley Wegner offer reconstructed memories of past experiences; Ana Golici and Pablio Caviedes reflect on aspects of native ideology, while Cui Fei and Fatima Shakil present meditations on formal aspects of design.
One artist, Linda Abadjian, arrived in 1984 as a child escaping the long fought Lebanese Civil War. Her body of work exhibited here was created after the artist’s first trip back to Lebanon in 2005. The bombed out buildings, interior scenes, and landscapes of the country reflect the state of her childhood home which has fallen into a state of disrepair. Upon returning from Lebanon Abidjian was moved to work in a new way by drawing with her opposite hand. Despite exposing the destruction of war in her mixed media works, Abadjian examines a new hope for the future rising from the ashes of its war-torn past.
In her paintings, photographs, and installations, Shirley Wegner reconstructs landscapes of her childhood in Israel. The series Nowheres consist of 15 small landscape paintings that incorporates everyday objects the artist has at her disposal. She constructs these Israeli landscapes from memory offering a comparison between childhood reminiscences and contemporary landscapes of urban decay, natural disasters, and the aftermath of war. Wegner addresses notions of identity, nostalgia, and the mechanisms of territory.
Although she has lived in the United States for the past 36 years, Ana Golici still follows current events in Romania. In her series of prints, entitled Icon I – V, she expresses her opinions on the current political climate of her home country. Inspired by traditional Christian icon paintings popular in Eastern Europe since the Middle Ages, Golici mounts her microscopic imagery of biological forms in the traditional gilded icon frames. The biologic imagery and its reflective quality stand for the corrupt political system that governs her home country.
Pablo Caviedes received his formal education in Ecuador before coming to the United States. His skull and bone sculptures find the artist recalling past experiences of collecting animal bones while exploring the Andes Mountains. These old bones, polished by time and nature, sparked Caviedes’ artistic interest by offering the deceased creature new life in art. One assemblage, Looking South, consists of a fractured cow skull the artist reconstructs with resin, adding unrealistic elements that are seamlessly incorporated.
Cui Fei earned a BFA from Zhejian Academy of Fine Arts in China before receiving a MFA from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the United States. As a Chinese artist active in the United States, she witnessed the rapid social changes taking place in China from afar while having to adapt to a radically new American culture. Her installation Manuscript of Nature fuses the Chinese conception of nature, which emphasizes interconnectedness of all living creatures, with the Western theory of Transculturalism, the notion of finding oneself within all human cultures.
Fatima Shakil is a trained miniature painter from Pakistan who recently received an MFA from Stony Brook University. In her pieces Tangible Memories I – III, she combines her interest in miniatures and textile design most notably inspired by Persian carpets. Shakil symbolically weaves memories of her past through individual strands of Wasli paper, a traditional miniaturist material invented in South Asia.
Remembering Things Past brings together a collection of artists from different parts of the world. Each artist has unique memories and experiences of their home country that are incorporated into his or her art. The exhibition is on display at the Patchogue Arts Gallery from November 8 – December 20, 2014. An expanded version of the exhibition will be on view at the Islip Art Museum from January 18 through March 29, 2015.
The Patchogue Arts Gallery is a professional art gallery operated by the Patchogue Arts Council, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation founded in 2008 to promote, encourage, and support the arts on the greater south shore of the Town of Brookhaven. The gallery features five curated exhibitions per year, which reflect current issues and concerns in the contemporary art world, in additional to an annual juried members exhibition.
Jay Schuck & John Cino, Co-Curators