Joanne Lefrak is lovely and charming, with a warmth and gentle spontaneity that disarms.
Given the potent mystique of the brooding artist, you might think niceness would be an occupational detriment, or at the least, irrelevant. But if you’re in the business of brokering relationships and gathering stories, it helps to be the sort of person who invites engagement the way a puppy invites touch.
Surely that effulgent loveliness serves her work at SITE Santa Fe, where she works as education and catalogue manager and runs the Young Curator’s Program. It also enabled her to entice ghost town raconteurs to unfurl the old family stories she pairs with the delicate drawings in her show, Past as Presence, currently on display at Box Gallery.
Like any good works of art, Lefrak’s pieces unveil in layers. The fact that she scratched her drawings onto plexiglass is an immediately appreciable neat trick, especially for anyone who has ever tried NOT to scratch plexi and knows just how touchy a medium it is. And it’s also quite cool that wall-mounting and front-lighting these scratched plexi panels reveals pallid but precise images in shadow. What follows is what you feel: the haunting resonance of powerful times past–at the Trinity Site, testing ground for atomic bombs, and in the faint, memory-bent remnants of a vigorous family life echoed in a present day ghost town.
Head down to Box Gallery, downtown in the Santa Fe Railyard, and spend a half an hour absorbing these etheric wonders. Slip on a set of headphones, and listen to the words of the ranchers Lefrak befriended. Share the fresh, direct sense of something not there made real and present by the humble, receptivity of this gentle artist.
Exhibition runs August 27 – October 2, 2010 at Box Gallery “[one of] a dozen galleries … that the serious collector and the discerning tourist would not want to miss.” — Mimi Avins, Los Angeles Times, Travel
Box Gallery is located at 1611-A Paseo de Peralta, across from SITE Santa Fe. Open Tuesday – Saturday 10 – 5; Tel: 505.989.4897
Real estate agents Malissa Kullberg and Joshua Maes, AKA Changing Gallery, use their listings, where appropriate, to showcase the art, photography, sculpture and other creations of emerging and independent artistic and musical talents.