Threading Forever . . . review by Myra Maher for the Jemez Daily Post, former online news outlet) *. . . . . . . Home
   

Saturday, June 6, 2015, I saw the Opening Reception for a show at the Mesa Public Library, in Los Alamos, Upstairs Gallery, by 3 internationally known artists of vastly different media and style. They are united by the common thread of the creative process. They are an expressive metal sculptor—Harriette Lawler (also the show’s organizer); a figurative visual artist—Mohammad Bin Lamin; and a realistic nature photographer—Theresa DiMenno. The artists invited a fourth (4th) artist to introduce their work and to share exhibit space, called the Laudatio Speaker (in the European tradition), Jim Caffrey. His emotional and intellectual response to the works is enlightening, as he has such a practiced and nuanced eye, himself. Caffrey will speakagain at the Closing Reception to be held from 5-7 pm on Friday, June 26, 2014.

Harriette Lawler shapes metal; maze-like, dream-like, shimmering and vibrating. Her pieces are at once recognizable, and at the same time, wholly imaginary. In all of the art I have ever seen all over this earth, I have never seen anything quite like Lawler’s. It is evocative, sophisticated and fun! It is the interplay of light and shadow on a variety of twistings, turnings, and fire applied to the metal. The strings of a guitar curve impossibly away from the guitar; yet because of that, you can see them dancing, and actually hear the music. Other shapes with no obvious reference make you smile at the light-play on their curved surfaces, so that they appear to undulate before your eyes. Then reflect on the fact that this undulating, shimmering thing is cut from one, flat sheet of metal. Some evoke an involuntary, visceral shiver at their challenge, both open and painful; others seduce you to dance with the light and vibrations; still others carry you off intodeep musings. Be delighted and mesmerized!

Mohammad Bin Lamin fashions figurative images created by a mixed media process known only to him which he also invented. The images, clearly human, are superhuman. They tell stories of pain, and of self-awareness won only due to the pain. The source of the pain is man’s inhumanity to man. The restrictions of totalitarianism are evident in the gridded patterns and repetitive size of the panel, yet the images are free, the human spirit is not contained. Bin Lamin's support of freedom and human rights is evident in his art, which speaks to the unquenchable light of the human spirit. It was due to his art that he was imprisoned by the Gaddafi regime in 2011 at the start of the Libyan revolution.

 

Bin Lamin and his work werebrought to the US in 2013 for a show in Davis, California in honor of the assassinated Ambassador Christopher Stevens. The ambassador had been a well-known and much-loved supporter of the arts in Libya and a friend to Bin Lamin. It is both a burden and a privilege to see and know these works by someone who has experienced repression because he believes in the transcendent power of the human spirit. Come soar with him through the darkness and the unknown.

Theresa DiMenno photographs nature. This series volunteered itself, when in her backyard in Houston, Texas, a milkweed (read: weed) attracted a caterpillar she knew was going to become a Monarch butterfly. She could not resist the invitation to follow the migration and transformation of this beautiful, endangered creature. She captures the beauty and mystery of a transformation more dramatic than that of any other creature. The transformation itself is realized on a journey of an equal magnitude. Can you imagine being a lowly, earth-bound caterpillar attaching yourself to the singular stem of a leaf, after you have eaten your weight each day for several days, hibernating in a cocoon you make yourself, closed inside with no defenses against predators, finally to emerge as one of the most beautiful winged creatures of the sky, flying on a journey of 2,500 miles, that you’ve never flown before? DiMenno’s eye and technical aptitude capture all of the vulnerability, color, majesty, danger, and strength of both the transformation and the migration. A testament to paradox—the simultaneous disservice of humankind destroying the habitat of this unique insect, and yet the grand service of humankind to nature in the person of DiMenno with her dedication to detail and passion with patience. Grow milkweed, y’all, help the Monarch survive.

Caffrey’s works, black and white photographs of the Bad Lands, is a fitting addition to this diverse show. His path led him through a variety of professions in order to follow his thread of creativity with the camera. His use of black and white for these formations makes them almost unrecognizable as reality, yet you know yourself in them; other-worldly, yet earthly.

As Lawler was responding to when she envisioned the show, the differences in what we see in the works of all 4 artists speaks to the enigma of creativity: of this world—other-worldly, flat metal—shimmering light, human—inhuman/superhuman, earth-bound—soaring spirit.

 
This review used to be accessed via a link on my website. Unfortunately, when the Jemez Daily Post transitioned to become the
Jemez Post, they did not re-publish features and news articles from the former Jemez Daily Post, including the above review.