Asya Geisberg Gallery is pleased to present “The Woods are Lovely, Dark, and Deep”, an exhibition with Thomas Bangsted, Anat Betzer, Melanie Daniel, Allison Gildersleeve, and Ezra Johnson.
Inspired by the penultimate line from the poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, “The Woods Are Lovely, Dark, and Deep” features work that explores the trope of the foreboding forest in painting, photography, and video. The journey through the forest can symbolize an acknowledgment of mortality or an encounter with the unknown, and often implies ominous events.
The appeal of the mythic, Romantic landscape, its darkness infinite, its depth unmeasurable, its secrets suspended, has centuries of potency. Anat Betzer’s houses in the woods allude to nefarious activities, suggesting crimes in historical times. Allison Gildersleeve’s paintings plant a hope of exiting the dark woods, with a glimpse of light at the end of the path. Bangsted’s waterfall dispenses with definitions of light and dark, and points to the quiet that the normally-thunderous waterfall evokes within the stillness of the photograph. Melanie Daniel’s densely painted landscapes hide the swarms of fireflies, one at twilight and one at night, one trapped in darkness and the other alert with potential, color, and pattern. In Ezra Johnson’s “The Time of Tall Statues” trees and logs combine with a dirge-like melody and melancholy recitation, and painterly narrative confronts a collagist’s edited animation. Stumbling upon each of these environments in the middle of the night, the modern Frost stand-in exhales and sees his breath before him, and hears the stillness of the lonely cold.