Grief may be a universal human emotion, but the expression of grief is highly individual, as evidenced by “Images of Grief and Healing” at the Chandler Gallery. The exhibit, juried by therapist and artist Emily Newmann and art educator Deborah Putnoi, presents artwork inspired by personal loss. The losses are many and varied, and each piece has a story of its own.
Some artworks provide clues to the events that inspired them, others encompass more ambiguity, and still others take sorrow itself as their subject. Paint drippings run down Ilana Manolson’s “Fragile Season,” evoking tears. Elizabeth Michelman’s “Chapter 1: Determination” expresses the plaintive essence of loss and the cruel monotony of pain: the phrase “I Want You” is repeatedly burned into a wooden panel.
Sandra Allik elevates grieving to a mythic experience in “Urban Icarus (Luke).” A figure falls through the night sky above a darkened town. Below, a woman and a man mourn over a supine body as crowds of people bearing identical faces stand over them. Lights explode in the streets, suggesting a town under siege, or perhaps just the pain of two individuals spilling across the whole city.
Among the sadness there is a touch of humor. In Pauline Lim’s grimly witty painting, a figure lies on the ground, her eyes closed, her heart bleeding. Behind her is the Periodic Table of Elements prominently displaying plutonium, an element named for a rock that is a planet no more. The title of the piece: “I Think of You Periodically.”
Finally, a measure of hope comes from the tulip bound with twine and ribbon in Pearlman Karlsberg’s “Constrained Bloom V-III.” The twine pulls the stem one way, the ribbon pulls it another, and the twine and ribbon combine to tug in a third direction. Yet the yellow blossom survives to catch the light.
“Images of Grief and Healing” will be on display at the Chandler Gallery from August 10 through September 11, 2015 with an opening reception on August 13 from 6:00-8:00 pm.