Huma Bhabha

“…And in the track of a hundred thousand years, out of the heart of dust hope sprang again, like greenness”

“…And in the track of a hundred thousand years, out of the heart of dust hope sprang again, like greenness” Courtesy of Salon 94

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

Huma Bhabha’s art combines contemporary aesthetics with a deeply felt understanding of human impermanence. Spread out over three galleries, however, her work reveals its weaknesses along with its strengths.

At ATM, four large photographs, shot in Bhabha’s native Karachi, Pakistan (she now lives upstate), depict sculptures of massive feet standing by the sea. Cobbled together from Styrofoam packaging, wire mesh and cracked clay, these objects reflect the current trend of reusing junk. But the photos’ hazy atmosphere, the objects’ scabrous surfaces and Bhabha’s deft use of scale lend the images a sense of majesty and timelessness while also hinting at fragility and decay. Similar intimations of monumentality and collapse suffuse the single large sculpture uptown at Salon 94. There, two totemic figures stand on a bleak, burned surface. Also constructed from scavenged materials and sporting multiple half-human, half-animal heads, they suggest that our civilization, founded on the reamins of the past, will one day become the ruins that future cultures ponder.

Things go off the rails, however, on Freemans Alley. A pair of feet, similar to those photographed in Pakistan, prove to be clumsy and surprisingly piddling. The Immortal Story, in which a corpse molders in a sarcophagus, is simply too obvious. Perhaps most jarring is an overly elegant installation that reduces artworks meant to address profound issues of decline and regrowth to mere commodities, deadening them in the process.

ATM Gallery, through Sat 13
Salon 94, through Oct 26
Salon 94 Freemans, through Oct 26