February 24 to March 26, 2016
Opening Reception: Wednesday, February 24, 2016

“… in this unstable age, Naor distills our anxieties
into a public confession of the world’s
afflicted, lonely, redemptive common ground”—Stefan Stux

New York, New York (February 9, 2016) — Stux + Haller is pleased to present AFTERMATH, a solo show of new works by Tel Aviv-based artist Esther Naor, which explores and investigates the themes and consequences of immigration, loneliness, personal and psychic pain, the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France and San Bernardino, California and the current global refugee crisis. AFTERMATH will be on view at Stux + Haller Gallery, 24 West 57th Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY from February 24th to March 26, 2016. An opening reception will be held on Wednesday, February 24th from 5:30 pm to 8 pm.

AFTERMATH, Naor’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, features photographs and sculpture selected from the artist’s recent body of work and is the third episode in a “trilogy,” functioning as both a survey and culmination of Naorʼs work since 2010. The exhibition will continue the concerns Naor has been addressing for the past decade, and further shaped in her solo exhibitions in 2012, “Side Effects,” and 2015, “A Sudden Dark Breeze over My Uncovered Skin.”

“The first episode was very personal and dealt with my own trauma, identity and biography, the second was more general, borrowing figures from a painting by Goya, instead of my own, and depicting a scene of lifesaving in undefined site and situation,” says Naor. “The “Aftermath” works further develop this theme, defamiliarizing and distancing myself from the situation in order to address more universal pains and anxieties, partly under the influence of the images I have been seeing in the last months in the news of refugees in Europe and the recent terror attacks in Paris and California.”

Though suffering is not unique to our current world, we are now inundated with tragedy, terror, disease, and war on a 24-hour news cycle that does not relent. Esther Naorʼs work freezes the cycle of our unstable age, distilling our anxieties into a public confession of the world’s afflicted, lonely, redemptive common ground. A new series of photo works, printed on glossy aluminum, will surround and exist in dialogue with Naorʼs newest sculpture. Scenes of anonymous individuals bidding farewell, awaiting unknown futures, are overlaid on the life-preserving surface of a thermal emergency blanket. The thin foil (developed by NASA in 1964), coated silver on one side and gold on the other, calls to mind images of the survivors of the Paris terror attack. Completing this new series is a selection of works from her 2012 and 2015 solo exhibitions in New York City. A window obscured by earth greets one at the door, beside Naorʼs monumental worry beads hanging stoically next to a gurgling sink, surrounded by her Tigris River blue melon sculptures perched on the floor.

Central to this exhibition is a life-sized sculpture inspired by the figure in Goya’s 1798 painting “Witchesʼ Flight.” The thermal emergency blanket yet again cloaks a man, hunched, fleeing…the blanket here in three dimensions, serving its true purpose: protection, warding off the specter of fear. The man lurches forward, frozen in his perpetual movement and plain clothes, an energy preserved in his body and tense, nervous face.

Goyaʼs reminder that “the sleep of reason produces monsters” is the haunting refrain behind Naor’s visual language. As Michaël Amy, critic and Professor of the History of Art in the College of Imaging Arts & Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology, writes in “Esther Naor: The Raft of Memory,” his essay for the exhibition catalog, “By citing the Spanish master, Naor seems to be condemning, through her own work, intolerance of every stripe, which, like a terrible illness, destroys life.”

“Humanity is currently facing a new phase of violence and upheaval; of course, our history has known endless wars and catastrophes, some caused by nature and some by our own hands. Even so, I feel that the individual today lives in a state of constant anxiety — a relentless fear of the unknown and the evil that can strike any moment, anywhere, without early warning,” says Naor. “My new works relate to this unstable and frightening situation (known to me very well, being Israeli) and address issues such as loneliness, pain, violence and ways of coping with such events and emotions from the point of view of the individual.”

About Esther Naor
Esther Naor was born in 1961 in Israel. She graduated from the department of Civil Engineering at Haifa Technion Institute, Israel, and the department of Computer Sciences at Tel Aviv University, Israel. Following a career in engineering and computers, she moved on to art studies at the Midrasha Art School in Kfar Saba and at several artists’ studios in Israel. Naor works mainly in the mediums of sculpture, photography, and video. Naor lives and works in Israel. “Although I focus on installations, my work also involves video and photography. I’m interested in issues of identity, social behavior, and physical and mental borders, but I always take something very personal as a point of departure,” says Naor. “Such points have been my personal family history and its immigration from Iraq and integration in Israel, the tension and conflicts involved in my being both a mother and an artist, and personal traumas which influenced my artistic work.”

To download the exhibition catalog, please go to http://issuu.com/sg53025/docs/esthernaor_aftermatha06a30fb-9cd1-4472-88fd-1e63616e2868

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4 West 21st Street #6D
New York, NY 10010

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