Sunday, February 12, 2012

Barbara Roux's Environments on Exhibit at Hofstra Museum

Barbara Roux describing one of her installations at
the Emily Lowe Gallery at Hofstra University.
Photo by Bob Brinkmann.
I had the pleasure of taking my class to the opening of Barbara Roux's new show, Environments, at the Hofstra Museum's Emily Lowe Gallery.  Ms. Roux uses a variety of media in the show, but the work is largely an exhibit of photography and sculptural elements.  The work includes poetic pieces.

Her photographs are not manipulated by computer processes or programs.  They are not cropped or digitally enhanced.  Instead, she works within her location to obtain images that have meaning.  Most of her photographs are of the North Shore region of Long Island.  For my readers outside of the area, this is a highly developed portion of Long Island on the Long Island Sound that contains a number of small towns separated by scattered estates, parks, and preserves.  Finding nature is not easy.  Thus, her photographs show a selected landscape that is hanging on, that is under stress, and that is special.

One feels this stress in her work.  She highlights the unusual--a tree fallen in a small landslide, a seasonal vernal pool, a crane caught in an awkward moment of flight.  All of these glimpses are fleeting.  There are several sculptural elements in her show as well that are manipulated found natural objects.  My favorite piece was of a series of apple tree tops that she found in an orchard.  She turned them into a series of what appear to be hoop-skirted headless women doing a tragic gavotte.  The reference to the brokenness of nature is evident in this piece.  But other sculptural pieces speak to the resilience of nature.  My students enjoyed a piece that Ms. Roux described in the opening as representing Roman armor.  She described the way that trees and nature build protective layers.  I think this exhibit speaks volumes about nature in a threatened landscape.

If you get a chance to see the exhibit, stop by!  It's worth going for inspiration and ideas.

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