Exhibition Review: How Many Miles to Babylon
By Ella Corcoran
Compassionate and insightful, How Many Miles to Babylon portrays the survival of physical and cognitive trauma in a beautiful, yet honest, light. This group show, featuring eight artists, varies in aesthetic and is held in the Miyako Yoshinga Gallery. The photographs radiate hope for the future while simultaneously acknowledging the severity that trauma, illness, and injury can create. How Many Miles to Babylon, is the Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery’s most recent exhibition and runs July 12th to August 4th.
The Miyako Yoshinaga gallery is a small space located in Chelsea. When entering, the viewer is met with hardwood floors, white walls, and a warmly lit room. Hitoshi Fugo’s black and white photographs, "On the Circle 40" and "On the Circle 09", immediately provoke the viewer to question the relationship between the two photographs themselves. "On the Circle 40", captures the photographer's daughter, diagnosed with Poliomyelitis, lying on an asphalt ground. Her limbs look stiff and and she is positioned in a linear fashion. The second of the two photos, "On the Circle 09", consists of scattered pieces of wood strewn across the asphalt.
By, not only looking at these two pieces as a juxtaposition, but as two different parts of the same image, the viewer begins to weigh the varying intersections of structure and symbolism within these two striking photographs. It is interesting to note the spatial differences between them. The daughter looks as if she could fit into the open space in "On the Circle 09." One could also interpret the scattered blocks of wood as an internal fragmentation that is masked within the vertical portrait of Fugo’s daughter -- creating an intimate relationship between body and mind.
Lisa Ross’ series After Night, are photographs focused on themes of rest and self-care. She photographs empty beds in various cotton fields in Uhgan, China. The beds are used by villagers within the community as a vehicle of rehabilitation and sleep from the demanding physical labor needed to provide a successful harvest. Both the centered bed and severe contrast between the desolate natural landscape and the detailed fabrics allow the viewer to recognize not only the pleasure, but the vitality of sleep and relief.
How Many Miles to Babylon allows for viewers to sympathize and relate to the aftermath that trauma or illness leaves behind -- whether visible to the naked eye or not. However, the exhibit not only brings the reality of these struggles to light but creates a strong sense of hope and recovery.