Public Art and the Aftermath of Natural Disasters

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NEW LONDON, CT (10/13/2017) Timeless and timely works of art that dwell at the intersection of nature and the human experience: the newest work of artist Gail Gelburd is influenced by the aftermath of natural calamities and the lives of those that live on in their wake. The public reception of Gelburd's "Unbound Presence," a public art installation and her exhibit "Encased Memories" will take place at 5:00 PM, Saturday, October 21 and will be on view at the MS17 Art Project in the Atrium at Harris Place (165 State Street, New London) through January 31.

"Unbound Presence" features an installation that combines five 20-foot photographic scrolls with encaustic paint, four floor pieces, a sculpture of water personified and sound. The Atrium at Harris Place appears to fill with water as panels of towering and plummeting waterfalls. The images soaring above the viewer seem to fall on to the participant, and to the ground beneath their feet. The viewer is in the visual waterfalls and the waterfalls become our energy and our breath as ours, and their presence is left unbound. It is here that the viewer can experience the power, beauty and ferocity of water, safely away from the hurricane.

In "Encased Memories," Gelburd uses mixed mediums, photography, encaustic, found objects and other non-art materials to create individual sculptural works that together comprise an installation that explores natural calamities, displacement, loss and memory. Gelburd's images, encased in, wax are forever preserved or mummified. The wax sometimes explodes to echo the power of nature or can fade the image itself. Earthquakes in Japan and Nepal lead to Tsunamis, avalanches, beliefs, culture and philosophy participates in their reactions. Having first hand experience of the sublime forces of nature, victims of these disasters have shared their stories. Gelburd recants the stories in text as well as imagery and sculptural objects. These very specific stories give a message that is Universal. Gelburd's art reminds us that each day that we take nature for granted, each day that we destroy it a little more, it will fight back harder to survive; it is a formidable opponent. We patch up, rebuild lives, start again, until once again we forget.

Gail Gelburd is a critic, curator, and artist as well as a Professor in the Art Department at Eastern Connecticut State University. Dr. Gelburd has curated more than 20 exhibitions in 8 countries, and 20 states in the US. These exhibitions focus on issues of race, poverty and the environment. She has lectured and published in India, Japan, Cuba, Korea, South Africa and Australia as well as major museums such as the Brooklyn Museum, LA County Museum and the Whitney Museum in NYC. Her own art work has been shown in museums in the United States and numerous galleries. This past year her work was chosen for an exhibition in Brooklyn on New Photography by the assistant curator of the Museum of Modern Art photography department. Other recent exhibitions include shows in Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Goa India. Her work has also been featured in Aedra Fine Arts on-line catalog, and Studio Visit magazine and has been selected by Vida designs. She is in collections in New York, California, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Goa India. She uses glicee archival photography with a wide range of mixed media creating 2D and 3D work. Her work defies categorization as it merges with painting, encaustics and sculptural forms to enliven and define a space. She has also created a major series on the aftermath of the Japanese Tsunami, Super storm Sandy and the Gorkha Earthquake of Nepal.