The Boston Globe: Esther Solondz

The Boston Globe
Theater & Art


Intricate structures

By Cate McQuaid |  GLOBE CORRESPONDENT    February 6, 2013


When you first walk in Gallery NAGA’s door, most of Esther Solondz’s chilling and peculiar installation, “The Slow Vast Heave of Matter That Just Floats in the World,” is hidden by a movable wall. The title is scrawled in pencil, and a small, fading print of a woman hangs there. You can’t even make out her features.

Step past the wall and you’ll find tables, each with an intricate structure that might be a bird cage made with thread, cobwebs, and dewdrops. The spindly webs are silicon strung over wire, often glistening and translucent, sometimes thick and white as frosting.

The structures sport ornate curlicues and finials. There’s something Seussian about them as they tilt and curl, but they also look like the forgotten skeletons of wedding cakes, which brings to mind the specter of the never-to-be-married bride, Miss Havisham, in Dickens’s “Great Expectations,” who wore her wedding dress decades past its expiration date.

This uneasy sensation is amplified by smaller pieces suspended from the ceiling on big hooks, with heavy black thread. Some, clad in gauzy fabric, sway like ghosts. Others, pink and white and drippy, are cylinders ringed with tutus, or bell shapes with droplets clinging to their rims.

Everything here appears to droop and cave in. At the same time, the art glimmers like diamonds and beckons like cupcakes. It looks fragile and on the verge of dissolution, yet has the feeling of eternity about it. Solondz powerfully stirs up vanquished hope and lingering fear with this installation of discrete pieces. Imagine if she could create a structure, large enough to walk inside, of wire, and dewdrops, and decay.