Artists Explore Mourning and Loss at BRIC’s ‘Death Becomes Her’ Exhibition in Fort Greene

Photo by Susan De Vries


A new group show at Fort Greene’s BRIC traverses the conflicting emotions of mourning through a series of work by female-identifying artists.

“Death Becomes Her,” co-curated by Jenny Gerow & Harry Weil in partnership with The Green-Wood Cemetery, opened on February 20 and runs through April 19. The 10 artists featured in the show explore both the history and present-day conception of what it means to grieve, with work that spans photography, video, sculpture and mixed-media presentations.

Positioned at the center of BRIC’s main gallery, Heidi Lau’s glazed ceramic sculptures evoke gothic pasts turned to rust. Each handcrafted piece suggests items that have been found at an ancient burial site — a browned chain-link burial robe, a fountain — eroded by the passage of time. Despite the decay, each sculpture holds on to its spooky essence, a burning life still brimming inside.

Work by Nona Faustine

Work by Nona Faustine

Brooklyn-based artist Nona Faustine’s series of photographs feature the artist as a spectral presence, inspired by the Greek myth of Persephone, roaming Green-Wood in gold robes. Gyun Hur’s moving piece “I wouldn’t know any other way” looks at how we deal with loss. Located on the floor at one corner of the gallery, a large photo from the artist’s childhood, taken in her grandmother’s garden, is sprinkled with a coating of bright-yellow silk flowers that have been hand-shredded. Details from the faded photograph peak through the layer of dust, which itself, via a mirror on the wall, reflects back up on the viewer.

work by rachel grobstein

‘William’ by Rachel Grobstein

ghost bike

‘Ghost Bike’ by Rachel Grobstein

Rachel Grobstein’s tiny sculptures, set on pedestals toward the middle of the gallery, communicate the fragility of loss. Each small work, made at a size that would fit in a dollhouse, takes a public street memorial as its subject: a ghost bike, roadside remembrances filled with candles, flowers and random items. Based on photographs of real memorials taken by the artist, in miniature, they are both comedic and tragic, a life summed up in a series of personal but random objects. They represent a memory of a life that is slowly fading from view.

detail of work by Heidi Lau

Detail of ‘The Burial Chamber’ by Heidi Lau

work by Keisha Scarville

Selection from the series ‘Placelesssness of Echoes’ by Keisha Scarville

work by mimi bai

‘Conjuring a Future Full of Pasts’ by Mimi Bai

work by Gyun Hur

‘I Wouldn’t Know Any Other Way’ by Gyun Hur

In addition to the exhibition, a series of public programs will continue the theme outside the gallery. McKendree Key and Freya Powell will both stage performances at Green-Wood in March and April, while Hur will present a performance around her work at BRIC eight times during the show’s run. For more information on the exhibition, as well as the accompanying performances, visit BRIC’s exhibition website.

[Photos by Susan De Vries]

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