Malleable Sky curated by Elizabeth Chodos

Works by Lisa Rybovich Cralle and Maria Perkovic, and in the conference room gallery: Noah Berlatsky

How do we remember the places we’ve been? How does our memory play into the way we imagine the future, and dream of new places? How does a location, real or imaginary, become a specific place with its own qualities, abnormalities and idiosyncrasies? Malleable Sky is an exhibition of work by Lisa Rybovich Cralle and Maria Perkovic that explores where the boundaries between our internal and external lives blur and looks at how these two realms can be indistinguishable and mutually influential.

Cralle’s work explores the problems of recreating a specific place, her home-state Florida, using various media including collage, painting and drawing. Her work uses general source material like pictures of beaches, men in bathing suits, boats and hurricane-size clouds, to create a vivid portrait of where she grew up. Cralle’s collages manage to emphasize a particular place while de-contextualizing it, showing how memory can be both specific and placeless, blurring reality and fantasy.

Perkovic’s work de-emphasizes the specific and the real. She builds and photographs environments made from paper that resemble the modern city, with its towering buildings designed for speed and efficiency. While these images are not of any real location they indicate a particular logic that is specific to a place and time. Unlike Cralle’s collages with their abundant use of color, Perkovic’s photographs are various shades of gray. The lack of color in these photographs empties them from a connection to the real world, and insists on placing them in an imaginary, desolate, and at times comical, modern utopia.

Using various techniques, these artists show how chance imagery, fantasy, theory, and memory all influence our understanding and apprehension of the world. Their work shows how relative experience can be, and how something as seemingly specific and real as sky is malleable in our imagination and memory.

The works displayed by Noah Berlatsky were created in response to the Flaming Fire Illustrated Bible, an online collaborative project dedicated to illustrating every single verse in the Bible. To this ambitious effort, Noah has brought a deep lack of religious faith and an utter inability to create representational drawings. The result is a series of black and white abstractions which comment, more or less obscurely, on more or less randomly selected verses. The series is about mystery, distance, effort and community — trying to respond in a meaningful way, with limited resources, to a text which is and is not my own.