Connecting the DotsPublished on May, 01 2017
Myrna Balk, “Two Sisters,” 1987, Fry Point on copper, 3”H x 4”W.
Myrna Balk’s retrospective exhibit, “Connecting the Dots—A 50-year Retrospective with Changing Materials and Themes: Emerging and Reemerging,” brings together a lifetime of art making. The exhibit opened May 4 at the Piano Craft Gallery, 791 Tremont Street, Boston, MA, and runs until May 28. This culturally rich, multimedia show includes 50 etchings and 20 sculptures in steel, clay, barn materials, found objects, and fiber art and reflects Balk’s continuing concern with issues of human suffering close to home and in other lands, as well as numerous works that are purely artistic.
Balk, who is both an artist and a social worker, worked closely with victims of sex trafficking in Nepal and helped them to translate their stories into pictures. Her work, which grew out of this collaboration, and which is included in “Connecting the Dots,” was previously exhibited in Nepal, Cleveland, and Boston. Eight of Balk’s etchings on sex trafficking were also part of an exhibit at the United Nations in New York in 2000.
A member of WILPF for many years, Myrna Balk has said: “My work is my way of standing up and saying ‘Pay attention!’ But when I work, I don’t work as an activist with a message. I work as an artist.” She is the recipient of three Mass Cultural Council grants and invitations to two international workshops, one with Sir Anthony Caro and one in Mumbai, India.
Using etchings, woodcuts, sculpture, collages, and installations, she pulls together multifaceted problems that are all around us. Her simple linear images allow us to think about the issues as we look at the art.
Through her expressive sculptures of clay, bamboo, and steel and a broad grasp of printmaking technique, including etchings, monotypes, and woodcuts, she asserts the essential dignity and humanity of abused women. With a light, almost innocent touch, her allegorical works bring us into shadowy environments that feel both domesticated and dangerous. Her courageous guidance empowers us to look with compassion on victims sex trafficking, genital mutilation, hunger, and the Holocaust.
Photographs of Myrna Balk’s work illustrated recent issues of Peace & Freedom magazine (spring/summer 2016 and fall/winter 2015). For more information about her work, visit her website.
Hours: May 5-May 28, 2017
- Friday hours: 4-8 PM
- Saturday and Sunday hours: 12-5 PM
- Open by appointment: firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening Reception, Sunday, May 7, 3-6 PM
Discussion with the Artist: Sunday, May 21, 3 PM