los-angeles

Betye and Alison Saar

Wight Art Gallery

A collaborative installation here by mother and daughter Betye and Alison Saar, called The House of Gris Gris, 1990, was a collision of the natural and the fabricated—a hut with walls of twigs and moss sandwiched between industrial screening. The work marked out the potential power of art to deal with boundaries, to operate in an “in-between” position. The rest of the exhibition was like a prolonged odyssey or three-dimensional scrapbook. It was prefaced by an intimate, dimly lit foyer in which family photographs and childhood drawings of both artists were exhibited. To each side of this room, arched entrances—one marked by a painted silhouette of Betye, the other by one of Alison—established a united duality of bodies that was played out in each work as an ambivalent dis / re-placement of boundaries.

The strongest of the two artists’ assemblage works are those that appropriate and reconstitute

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