Bernarducci Meisel Gallery
37 West 57th st. New York
September 8th – October 1st 2016
Reviewed by: Angela Gram
The two solo shows of Dina and Maya Brodsky currently at Bernarducci Meisel Gallery immediately thrill the viewer with sheer technical virtuosity. However one must look closer to encounter subtle yet powerful subject matter and concept. Displayed on opposite walls of the gallery, the exhibitions compliment each other effectively and produce an atmosphere of intimacy with the small scale of each work.
Dina Brodsky’s exhibition titled “The Secret Life of Trees” began as a collaborative project with images of over 100 trees sent to her from individuals around the world, each tree holding a unique significance or history to the sender. Brodsky then represented each image as an exquisitely rendered ink drawing on various handmade papers, some including other media such as oil paint. The resulting piece collectively narrates a sense of interconnectivity with each individual tree exuding its own unique essence into the larger whole. This is a forest of moments, dreams, fleeting and etherial, historical and poignant, experiences personified by nature. With the reality of environmental loss, these delicate and alluring drawings contribute to a contemporary dialogue where nature retains its value as a vehicle for direct observation, understanding, and self expression.
Maya Brodsky’s exhibition titled “Behind Closed Doors” is a series of oil paintings mainly depicting interior spaces she lives in. With some works taking nearly a year to complete, Maya demonstrates rigorous skill worthy of the Dutch masters. Reflections on a ceramic bowl, leaves of a houseplant, and woodgrain on a table are all meticulously rendered in an almost inconceivable level of detail. Yet the viewer must not be so easily seduced. There is a certain pathos inherent in such relentless scrutiny of a thing. It is the immersion of observation to such a depth that the observer sees the subject anew. Maya states, “A room or a home are completely different every time the light shifts, objects get rearranged, or I move throughout it. I think of how each vantage point is it’s own discrete world but perhaps by looking at multiple permutations of a thing, one can see something between the two that doesn’t exist in either scene alone.”
It is in this tenuous space, through unrelenting consciousness of focus, where both Maya and Dina make such metaphysical truths tangible. Their work has the rare quality of transcending technique to reveal a fundamental essence in each subject: uniquely contemplative and quietly powerful.