Artist known for her interdisciplinary approach, working harmoniously between sculpture, printmaking and performance, “The Return” by Romina Gonzales at visitor center in Newburgh is a healing journey for a population traumatized by a pandemic. Gonzales is best known for her glass work. “Find the Window” which was installed in the New York Hall of Science in 2021 and is on long-term display, is a wondrous series of “panes” – curvy shapes of glass that appear to have been pulled, like taffy – connected by scaffolding and copper pendant lights in the museum atrium.
For his exhibition at the Visitor Center, which runs through April 23, Gonzales continues his exploration of glass, this time on a less monumental scale, inviting the viewer to engage closely with these sui generis forms as they distort light , space and expectations. . Even offering a fancy treat, like A mound, corner or cave, a pile of sapphire blue oval glasses like a pile of forgotten hard candy melted together, Gonzales challenges our perceptions of the possible and invites us to imagine new ways out of today’s predicaments. What Raymond Carver called “a new path to the waterfall”.
There are other delights to be discovered in “The Return”. The pairing of Sibilant III-which is essentially a block of clay covered in sulfur, viewers are encouraged to stand (without shoes, in order to better connect with the healing properties of the element) -with desert springa bright yellow paint of sulfur on wood that you stare at while standing Sibilant III, seems downright silly at first. Two pieces of sulfur – one on the floor, one spread out on wood and hung on the wall – amidst an elegant fantasy of glass and copper. What the raw magic of the pieces reveals, however, is an artist who is not only technically masterful and aesthetically compelling, but also sensitive to matters of the soul, that battered bird within us, deeply scarred by a global pandemic. Beyond sheer beauty, “The Return” offers respite.