This Month in Nesto
by Henry Claudy on Friday, February 6th, 2015
On Friday, January 16th, Elaine Spatz-Rabinowitz opened her exhibit, “Locations Unknown II”, in the Nesto Gallery. “Locations Unknown II” depicts the horrors of war and the scars left in the communities, but none of the actual violence. Spatz-Rabinowitz was inspired by the harsh violence and destruction present in Iraq, Israel, and Russia to create art that reflects the pain felt across the world and the horrors of violence.
The exhibit contains works of all mediums, such as drawings utilizing inks, charcoal, and smudges, or bas reliefs made from plaster and found materials. The drawings began their lives as transfers from newspapers and sketches of live models, but evolved into abstract pieces depicting civilian casualties and the horrors of war. The reliefs are of particular interest, as a large amount of seemingly random items are used to make a desolate and vulnerable piece of scorched earth. These objects include doll-sized sneakers, toy rhinos, carpets, grasses, tiles, miniature raisin and oat boxes, among other materials. These elements, combined with the plaster of the relief, create an atmospheric viewing experience unique to the medium. Spatz-Rabinowitz has written about how the scorched earth reliefs were inspired by her own photographs of the ground at Auschwitz.
The billowing smoke, harsh landscapes, and collapsed bodies displayed at “Locations Unknown II” creates a jarring image, reflecting the side of war that is almost never shown by the media: the rubble and destruction left behind years later. Spatz-Rabinowitz’s focus on the destruction left in the wake of tragedy is an essential experience for students in the twenty-first century, especially in wake of the global community present today. The exhibit will be open until February 27th; I recommend seeing it as soon as you can.
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