By Arlene McKanic
Palindromes are verses or sentences that say the same thing forward or backward. The Rockaway Artists Alliance in Fort Tilden, Building 6, has hung a new exhibit, “Palindrome 2002,” which features art that utilizes mirrors and mirror images, reflections and doubles. The March 23 reception presented not only visual artwork but poetry and music by Tim Kearney, who played twin guitars, one of koa and one of rosewood, both made by hand.
Many of the works were three dimensional, including Martha Donegan’s “2002 Year of the Horse,” colorful, repeating, interlocking half circles made of cardstock that caged the zodiacal Chinese animals. On the bottom of the half-circles years were printed. The tops bore attributes of the animals symbolized by those years.
Geoff Rawling contributed “In Memoriam,” which cleverly commemorates the World Trade Center. A foot-high Plexiglas tower stands before a mirror on a map of downtown Manhattan. Behind the mirror is torn paper, like the paper that flew from the towers as they burned.
R.C. and Theresa Ingui’s “Glass Trilogy 1999” is a mirror framed with a snaky blue green neon light. The viewer is invited to “create your own palindrome,” by looking in the mirror, and to draw yourself “or what you see.”
Ursula Clark’s fascinating, dreamlike “Moon’s Phases” uses round mirror glass as stand-ins for the moon. The first mirror is painted over with black paint with what seem to be bits of dark crystal embedded in it. The second mirror is left clear on one side, the third mirror is fully clear, and in the last mirror the opposite half has been painted over. R.C. Ingui’s “Abstract Infinity” is a box full of green, blue and yellow neon tubes, plate glass, and a two-way mirror.
Some of the works are photos or paintings of objects reflected in mirrors or in water. Chris Jorge’s “Reflections on Tours” shows a castle reflected in its moat. His other work, “Live On, Time; emit no evil” uses not mirror images, but opposites. In this collage a group of elderly surfers embrace surfboards taller than they are, but on the other side of the canvas a native Hawaiian walks past a grouping of coffins stood on end, which reverses the vital, free-spirited symbolism of the surfboards.
Irv Gordon’s “High Speed Trains” is a photo of nearly identical bullet trains delicately touching nose to nose, like a high-tech Rorschach test. Joseph Rothenberg’s “Brooklyn Bridge” is a photo of the bridge’s spider web cables and twin Gothic arches. It’s a negative, which is another sort of palindrome. His “Glacial Lake” is also a mirror image.
Lucille Lacey’s prints, “Specimen #28,” “Orifi #14” and “Specimen #27” are doubled and redoubled images of what look like subtly colorized dental X-rays. Greatly unsettling, they remind one of the studies H.R. Geiger did of the rapacious space creature in Alien, with all those large, hungry teeth. Roger Carreau contributed two sunset-drenched photos “Beached by Storm” and “Devilish Sunset.” A ship that has run aground and the gorgeous hellfire of a Rockaway sunset are both reflected in a glassy Rockaway shoreline.
Paintings include Cindy Rosin’s “Was It Lovers Revolt I Saw?” where what seems like the same black figure stands in the foreground of two paintings of lovers, ominously watching. Anne Hourigan’s “Reflection, Grand Canal, Dublin” is pretty straightforward, though the image of the city is smeared in the ripples of the canal. Janet Dever’s “Red Rock Crossing” is a watercolor of Yosemite-like landscape reflected in a lake. Another very interesting work is “Redux” by Fran Kornfeld. Blue and green abstractions painted on handmade paper are mounted on one wall while their silhouettes adorn the next wall, like gray shadows. In Madeline Lovello’s oil painting “Woman Blow Drying Her Hair,” we see only a part of the woman’s head in the mirror behind her.
M. Elliott Killian’s “Birds Watching Us Watching Birds” has a definitely non-reflecting lake, but the palindrome can be seen in its title. Jenowade DeCardo Lewis is represented by the mother of all uteri. Simply titled “Womb,” it’s a monumental, almost elemental acrylic painting of a cross section of the female reproductive system with its twin ovaries, fallopian tubes and nerve endings all rubescently displayed.
Palindrome 2002 will be at the RAA till April 14.