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Indepth Arts News:

"Belonging: Elia Alba and Cynthia Greig"
2003-09-04 until 2003-10-04
University of Hertfordshire Galleries
St Albans, , USA United States of America

Belonging brings together the work of two female American artists both of whom manufacture objects usually seen as toys or dolls, placing them in unexpected contexts before incorporating them in photographic or video pieces. BELONGING is a collaboration between Focal Point Gallery and the University of Hertfordshire Galleries. Formally established in late 1995, The Margaret Harvey Gallery at St Albans and the Art and Design Gallery on the Hatfield Campus provide excellent opportunities for the academic community and the people of Hertfordshire to enjoy an ambitious programme of art and design exhibitions drawn from the broadest spectrum of visual arts, design and craft activity.

Elia Alba’s work plays with ideas of personal identity. She transfers photographs of real faces onto muslin, sewing and stuffing them like pillows, some miniature, some life-size. These ‘dolls’ heads’ are then re-photographed (or filmed) individually or in groups in different environments manifesting their relationship to that particular environment. The miniature heads have a realistic quality, yet their fabrication makes them appear animated or puppet-like. The larger heads play more with the "idea" of the face, creating a space where fragments come together, not to expose a dismembered head, but to illustrate the ‘I’ on the head (or what remains of the ‘I’) – an identity that is unalterable yet changes form as it crosses thresholds or landscapes.

Cynthia Greig, who is a n absolutearts.com Portfolio Member, uses scale to explore how our perceptions of self and reality are effected when our sense of natural order is disturbed. Her photographs enlarge tiny stand-ins for real objects to human scale; disrupting a conventional sense of proportion and making the small seem life-size and the human seem gigantic. Made to appear colossal in proportion, the sheer enormity of the figure undermines the usual correspondence between size and power, oversized fingers try to operate a much smaller, seemingly familiar object. Exploiting the photograph’s unique ability to vacillate between fact and fiction, Cynthia’s images examine the betrayal of appearance, and point toward the act of seeing that which is beyond the obvious surface, and less visible to the naked eye. They ask the viewer to consider that which lies between seeing and not seeing, and contemplate the complex nature of visual perception and how it effects our experience.

Cynthia Greig
microscope, 2001
Photography Color
16 x 20 inches

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