Like sotte voce hisses meant to be heard, Renana Laub presents her first solo exhibit Whispers at the Jerusalem Artists’ House, part of the Nidbach series in the entry-level space that is devoted to debut exhibits.
Whispers shows the visual expressions of inner thoughts, half-thoughts, and murmurings which seem to percolate from just beneath the artist’s skin.
Laub, a recent graduate of Emunah College, focuses on “the possible space between innocence and the wild.” Curator Maya Israel notes that the artist is examining the edges of life, conservation, and withering:
"The attempt to conserve and repair emphasizes the gap between the world of the living and the world of the dead."
Without having read the exhibition notes, I responded to it more as an exploration of erotic awakenings within the constraints of a conventional world. Perhaps subconsciously, this theme comes through as well.
The far wall of the exhibit is entirely wall-papered by a reproduction of a Moshe Castel painting altered by Laub showing a brushy wedding dress, or spirit, which engulfs the whole setting, unites the exhibit, and sets the tone as one anchored in tradition. Laub stretches the borders of the two-dimensional through found objects and confidant extensions of images, inviting us into her world.
Her journals and sketch pads are open for perusal. We can observe the chains of thought that lead to her more developed works. She includes the stains of Sabbath challah bread on parchment papers and finds in the remnants of her baking a stepping stone in her search. Jerusalem artist Motte Brim recently exhibited works from the same source of inspiration at this venue.
She conjoins dead fish shells, classic paintings, children’s story illustrations, red blossoms, dry twigs, bridal gowns, with red threads and red resin pulling the eye across the room from piece to piece. Paradoxically, the reds that guide us from work to work recall Corot,...
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