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Art & Museums

Review: Box Heart exhibit draws works from artists across the globe

| Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
'Subjective City' by Eszter Bornemisza, textile, 52 inches by 32 inches
Eszter Bornemisza
'Subjective City' by Eszter Bornemisza, textile, 52 inches by 32 inches

Box Heart Gallery's “13th Annual Art Inter/National Exhibition” showcases the works of 20 artists from around the world.

For this exhibit, Box Heart received more than 600 entries from regional, national and international artists. Gallery co-owner and director Nicole Capozzi and gallery co-owner Joshua Hogan selected 20 artists for participation and 28 works of art for display in a variety of media.

The works range from the crafty, such as the Bauhaus-inspired fiber piece “Texas Brush Country” by San Antonio artist Doerte Weber, to the cool — as in the abstract — free-flowing oil painting “People of a Marginalized World” by Evrim Ozeskici of Usak, Turkey.

As in the past, some artists show works using techniques rarely seen or exhibited before. For example, Elisa Mearelli's “Serpe” is a “drypoint” image of a serpent laboriously created from hundreds of pin pricks on paper.

Like a lot of the artists included in this show, Mearelli, who lives in Cattolica, a small seaside town on the east coast of Italy, says she was influenced by her roots.

“My grandparents had a farm, so I grew up observing animals,” Mearelli says. “Even today, animals are my first source of inspiration.”

Eszter Bornemisza's quilt “Subjective City” is based on Budapest, where she lives. “As an urban citizen living in Budapest, my main sources of inspiration are the cultural layers found in the earth under the soles of our feet and embedded in our minds,” she writes from Hungary.

Most of Bornemisza's recent work incorporates maps of the city of Budapest, both old and new. The juxtaposition of these labyrinth, or gridlike, urban textures offers a rich ground for associations on the alterations of the city, whether they be rushed changes over the past few decades or evolved over centuries.

The same is true of “Subjective City,” in which Bornemisza used her own sketch-map of the city, showing her neighborhood and surrounding areas she frequents and including notations of her favorite places, which she printed larger and on top of an actual cartographer's map of Budapest. “With this, and referring to articles about planning issues, I intended to draw attention to our responsibility about the surroundings of our urban living,” she writes.

Closer to home, Kevin Bielicki of Wilmington, Del., was taken with the forest around him. His wall-sculpture, “Rings 2,” was inspired by tree rings. Made from slabs of locust wood, which Bielicki cut into rings, he rearranged each slab so the rings project off the wall. “I repurpose trees that have been cut down and transform them by cutting out rings and arranging them in space,” Bielicki says.

Working this way, Bielicki says, each piece is a new exploration of arranging tree rings in a way that activates space. “My forms are not necessarily attributed to one meaning, but I prefer viewers to draw their own conclusion of my forms,” he says. “However, I would like individuals to feel energized and be constantly drawn throughout my work when they view it.”

Not so much where she lives, but where her husband is from is what inspired Dagmar DeKok of the Netherlands. Her ceramic sculpture, “Why Hare Does Not Have a Long Tail,” was inspired by South African folk tales.

“My husband is from South Africa (Zulu), and that is the reason that I started to know more about the storytelling tradition in Africa,” she says.

Finally, Russian artist Irina Koukhanova of Cleveland bridges the gap between installation art and 3-D object-making with her piece “In the Beginning.” Koukhanova used a 3-D plastic printer along with otherwise traditional materials of steel and wood to create a semi-abstract piece that is a real showstopper. So much so, Capozzi and Hogan awarded it Best of Show.

“The red cell structure is nurtured and trapped at the same time in the construction that suggests a dysfunctional crib with only one rocker at the bottom,” Koukhanova explains. The piece alludes to authority, power play and the “dynamics of entrapment.”

It's worth noting that the “Best of Show” winner is awarded a solo exhibit at the gallery.

Last year, Koukhanova received the 2013 Best of Show Award for her bronze and wood sculpture, “Iron Enclosure No. 2.” As in previous years, Koukhanova will present her solo exhibition “Panoptic Landscape” immediately after the close of this exhibit. It will be on display from March 18 through May 16.

Kurt Shaw is the art critic for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at

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