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Cement and lace paintings uncover political conflicts

A bit more than a year ago, Naomi Safran-Hon opened her studio to the public as part of the Brooklyn Museum's Go  community-curated project and was worried that no one would show up. The 29-year old Safran-Hon was one of the 1,708 artists who participated, and in the end, she was chosen as one of the five winning artists to exhibit her work at the Brooklyn Museum. Visiting her studio in Crown Heights, I was not surprised that a large number of people who showed up voted for her work, which combines cement and lace and possesses a haunting quality that forces you to linger in front of her paintings.

Although technically Safran-Hon is a painter, her process is far from the traditional definition of the medium. First, she takes a photograph and mounts it on canvas, after which she paints on and cuts holes in it. She then stretches lace along the back of the canvas and pushes cement through it. “I think of my lace as my brush and my color palette,” she explains. “It’s not only the color but also the pattern which determines the shape of the cement that I push through the back of the canvas.”

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