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Cut and Paste

Husband and wife Mim Golub and Chuck Scalin piece together different styles of collage.


In a statement issued for the opening, Golub mentions that her work was born of a sense of helplessness and frustration with the modern political climate. Her autobiographical series of 10 mixed-media collages is entitled “Tikkun Olam,” which is the Hebrew concept of changing the world through social action. What comes across in the series, however, is an acknowledgment that there’s only so much an activist can accomplish in a gallery. With this in mind, the role of the works becomes as much about Golub’s self-prescribed therapy as anything else.

Each of Golub’s pieces is made up of maps that have been cut into strips and then rewoven with portions of other maps. In one of the earlier works, “Chicago,” the technique serves particularly well as an expression of anxiety. In this piece, a map of her childhood home is spliced together with bits of newspaper headlines referring to nuclear weapons, arranged around a large group of concentric circles. The composition is then hung at an angle and dotted with several red X’s.

The superimposed X’s and lines, which serve as threaded punctuation marks throughout Golub’s series, are given a less destructive role in her most recent work. In “Gulf,” the threadwork mimics the arterial lines of a topographical map that has been woven into a map of a body of water — a possible reference to a desire to mend wetlands destruction. It is this recent work, a group of six small square collages, that displays the healing concept of “Tikkun Olam” most effectively.

Unlike his wife, who uses collage to express a personal narrative, Chuck Scalin seems focused on the process of the medium itself. In each of his four 30-inch by 40-inch digital prints mounted on foam core, Scalin has positioned side by side two competing photographs (or portions of photographs) taken from an urban environment. There is something accidental and cinematic about the images that are offered, and they come across as glimpses of a city viewed from a fast moving car.

The ephemeral quality of the individual images are made more interesting by the seemingly deliberate way in which they are juxtaposed, that is, in the split-screen manner that was used to depict two people talking on the phone in ’60s sitcoms. He must have sorted through stacks of images to find just the right combinations. The viewer looks for a conversation between the two photographs, but if there is one, it isn’t readily apparent. Positioning himself as a detached observer, Scalin seems to be most interested in the process of finding, rather than questioning, his own reason for choosing. S

“Tikkun Olam” by Mim Golub and New Work by Chuck Scalin will be at Curated Culture until June 25. Call Christina Newton at 304-1554 for details.

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