Labyrinth: Current Millennium is the circular journey of our lives, “the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.” It probes at what is not evident; secrets suppressed beneath a placid and engaging surface. The installation is an analogy of the uncertainty of humanity, the farce of us.
Surrounding the Labyrinth of silk organza hang multitudes of bags of human hair, obscuring safe passage. Bare bulbs fade on and off, intermittently illuminating elements for an instant here and there.
Whispers --- the words gathered from The Labyrinth website --- are heard. Secrets in the air, guilty, ashamed, some aggressive.
From the depths of the Labyrinth, a security camera peers outward through the layers to capture viewers who seek a clarity clouded by their own nature.
The use of ancient materials ---- hair, silk, thread and encaustic --- takes us back to the Greeks and their myths. Contemporary mediums ---- audio and video --- conflict with this history, not unlike our own daily journey.
Labyrinth: Current Millennium essentially poses a final question: Is a single thread strong enough to escape the metaphor of a personal Minotaur?
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Babs Reingold Profile
For the past decade New York artist Babs Reingold has searched for the hidden. According to her, “Reality is illusive and kept from us. All life on the surface is an illusion and secrets hide beneath the surface, our life a chimera of sorts, a thing hoped for but illusory.”
Perhaps her search began because the geography of her life is an illusion. Born in Venezuela, childhood in Caracas, youth in Dallas, high school and college in Cleveland, graduate school in Buffalo, artist studio in Manhattan, then Jersey City, then Hoboken and now Bayonne, New Jersey with first a winter studio in Tybee Island, Georgia and now, St Petersburg, Florida.
Perhaps it’s because of the responsibility placed on the eldest girl of five children when her photographer father became ill with MS and her mother was unable to cope. Perhaps it’s because her first young love died two years into their marriage.
Perhaps this. Perhaps that. All her work is created as a metaphor for a search never ending.
The works are small box portraits, large paintings and installations. In each of them Ms. Reingold seeks “our skins or layers.” Currently in her installations, she shapes large organza fabric structures populated with bags of human hair. Her paintings and box “portraits” are created in a painstaking process of rust and tea staining and materials such as silk, leather, threads, human hair, wood, pins, and encaustic.
Tommy Lanigan-Schmidt, the curator for the Contemporary Annual at New York’s National Arts Clubs, said upon viewing her work in that show that it “got me thinking about the skin I’m in. It was somewhat creepy.”
Ms. Reingold is a frequent exhibitor in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Several of her new works are scheduled for inclusion in a major group show at the Jersey City Museum in the fall of 2007. Recent solo shows include Los Angeles, Atlanta, Jersey City, and Savannah
She is now exhibiting in shows at the Tampa Museum of Art and the Florida Craftsmen in St Petersburg. In addition to her “Labyrinth: Current Millennium” installation at The Studio@620, the Arts Center of St. Petersburg is hosting a solo exhibit of her newest drawings, “Fallout: Beauty Lost and Found.”
Ms. Reingold has won numerous awards, including two from Whitney curator Barbara Haskell. Among critical recognition was a recent New York Times review of her work at the Art League of Long Island, and by Art Papers of her solo show at Atlanta’s Lowe Gallery. One critic called her boxed Portraits, shown in both Newark gallery, City Without Walls, and the Jersey City museum, as “strange and haunting little boxes” that “shrink the sacred down to human scale”.
She has exhibited at the Newark museum in the “New Jersey Arts Annual” with such notables as George Segal, Faith Ringgold and Willie Cole. A work from this exhibit was selected for the permanent collection of the Museum. Ms. Reingold additionally co-curated a show, “Voyeur’s Delight”, at Tribeca’s alternative space Franklin Furnace that motivated a religious coalition to picket on the steps of the White House.
Ms. Reingold has enjoyed a residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and was nominated for a Joan Mitchell Fellowship by Newark Museum curator Joseph Jacobs
Ms. Reingold received her MFA in painting from SUNY-Buffalo. Highlights of her exhibits in Buffalo included a solo show at Hallwalls, and invitational shows at the Albright-Knox Museum of Art. Her 5-year BFA degree is from the Cleveland Institute of Art, where she was invited to exhibit in the first Annual Alumni Exhibit. She maintains studios in St Petersburg, FL.
and the New York area.