In “Aftermath,” a new exhibition at Fred Giampietro Gallery, a painter’s passion is on full display in the conflict images of New Haven artist John Keefer, whose work is being shown with the sculptural creations of artist Kurt Steger — found object-construction hybrids that bear compelling messages in content and in their physical composition.
Hartford-based artist and poet Zulynette Morales looked down at a sheet of paper in front of her, then back up at the standing-room-only crowd packed into the mineral hall on the third floor of the Peabody Museum Monday afternoon. “Peace to Puerto Rico,” she said. Then she began to sing from a Willie Colón song from the 1970s. “Pronto llegará / El día de mi suerte / Sé que antes de mi muerte / Seguro que mi suerte cambiará.” I know my luck will change before I die.
At first glance it looks like the paper is still on fire. But it’s just how it was made. To make Floating Wall #1, artist Julie Pereira made layers upon layers of dyed paper, then burned them with incense. The resulting pattern on the paper looks like frozen smoke, like underwater photography, like clouds.
The piece is a fitting formal introduction to “Between Beauty and Decay” — now on view at Artspace on the corner of Crown and Orange until Feb. 24 — as Pereira’s piece seems to capture the exact moment in the exhibition’s title.
Artist Sara Hope Hill made a flourish with her hands. “Everything is a web,” she said. “Everything is a reflection of each other. I started reading mythology recently, listening on audiobooks, because I think they’re tied to the stories of now. All of those stories are kind of characters, of people you know personified to an extreme. It helps you understand the world around you. Puppetry and doll making help you understand the world around you, and I think many times the mythology ties into the divinity of my work. Porcelain bodies are God’s work. You are working with perfect beings.”