Neuberger Museum of Art

Purchase, New York

(914) 251-6100


Women of Stone


The Neuberger Museum of Art's exhibition Women of Stone highlights the work of two sculptors who carve stone in distinctive styles. Part I, Barbara Segal's Staged in Stone depicts everyday items-a cloth-covered table, a garment draped casually from a chair, and framed portraits-sculpted from colored marble. Ms, Segal's exhibition will run through October 29, 2000.

Part II, Harriet Feigenbaum's This is Not a Ruin, It's a Theater, is dedicated to ancient and on-going Middle East conflicts. This exhibition opens November 12, 2000 and will be on view at the Neuberger through January 14, 2000.

"Typically, marble sculptures are thought of as serious, somber, idealized images. We have come to regard classical sculptures as pure and pristine," says Judy Collischan, Ph.D., Neuberger Museum of Art Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs, who curated the exhibition. Barbara Segal bursts through these traditional assumptions with aplomb and gusto. Through the inlaying of colored ornamental stone and the use of pattern effects, she depicts everyday subjects with humor and wit. Paired with her quirky subject matter, Segal's remarkable technical skill excites, fascinates, and astonishes. (left Barbara Segal, Portrait of the Artist's Mother, 1989, inlaid black, white and grey marbles, with gold leaf wood antique frame, 26 x 22 x 3 inches, Courtesy of the artist)

One views Barbara Segal's Neuberger Museum of Art "living room" installation by walking around the entryway. Past the entry figure, the viewer walks about the furniture and views the pictures as though visiting the artist's home. Segal has created a commonplace environment filled with familiar objects rendered in marble. She paid tribute to family members by incorporating portraits of her mother, father, husband and son. (left Barbara Segal, First Meeting, 1989, inlaid black, white and grey marbles, with aluminum frame, 84 x 60 x 36 inches)

Segal trained in Europe and was inspired by Italian artisans. She has adapted Renaissance intarsia (inlay) techniques to achieve tonalities, textures and patterns. In 1985, Ms. Segal began a fascinating foray into depicting American cultural issues in sculpted, colored stone.

"Harriet Feigenbaum's interpretation of the conflict between Arabs and Jews hints at the timeless drama of their homeland," says Dr. Collischan. Ms. Feigenbaum's installation consists of several solid and fossilized limestone components lying close to the earth and suggesting the ruins of a civilization collapsed into decay.

Visitors observe the artist's carvings, inspired by the sunken relief style of ancient Egyptians and Greeks, on both sides of the blocks as they walk among the "ruins". By positioning words and images opposite each other on a block, Ms. Feigenbaum depicts the feeling of taking sides. By arranging pieces in arcing rows, she has developed a dialogue suggestive of amphitheater seating.

This is Not a Ruin, It's a Theater is a metaphor for the "theater of war." Feigenbaum is especially sensitive to the plight of women caught-up in hostilities beyond their control. She provides clues to her impressions of war's fundamental despair and combat's devastating destruction in the veils of her subjects. She has employed flowing headdresses in Veiled Women Tried to Flee to depict the appalling terror of a ghastly moment frozen in time.

The exhibition is funded, in part, by the Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art and the Westchester Arts Council.

Read more about the Neuberger Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/23/11

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