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Amulets, Nazars & Evil Eyes: Artists Looking Forward: Group Show Explores an Age-old Belief at Queens College Art Center, May 2 - June 28, 2012

-- Contemporary Artists Address “the Eye” through Work in Diverse Media --

FLUSHING, NY, April 20, 2012 – Many cultures believe that an evil eye can cause injury or bad luck for the person at whom it is directed. Turkey has a particularly rich tradition of talismans—including the beads known as nazars—designed to ward off this curse. Now, in conjunction with Queens College’s Year of Turkey, the Queens College Art Center is presenting a group show in which 28 contemporary artists look at the evil eye.

Chosen through an international open call, the contributors represent a wide range of backgrounds. Hale Ekinci, a Turkish interdisciplinary artist living in Chicago, says she strives to recreate her memories in a video offering “a fantastical lens that juxtaposes real life situations with ephemeral imagined incidents.” Lisa Rybovich Crallé, a San Francisco-based sculptor, and mixed-media and installation artist, assembled collages that “delve into the deeply mystical and ritualistic culture of Haitian Vodun and Cuban Santeria practiced widely in the South Florida community in which I was raised,” she explains. Anujan Ezhikode revisits beliefs and remedies that extend from the ceremonial rituals of his Indian youth to his Brooklyn life today. New York painter Roya Farassat draws on the oppression of women (the flip side of which is their silent resistance) in her native Iran and on the power of the gaze. An installation by Dutch-born New York artist Reineke Hollander, “Dead Fetishes Waiting for a Ceremony” (in which an eye-possessing shaman/artist will bring them to life), was inspired by a visit to a Ghanaian fetish shrine, while an installation from Anush Mirbegian, Brooklyn-based artist with Armenian, Iranian, Italian and American roots, explores concepts of cultural and feminine identity.


 Dead Fetishes Waiting for a Ceremony,
mixed-media installation, 2009

In addition, the exhibition will feature a collage and flag work by Jo
nas Angelet, painter; a collage by Michele Castagnetti, painter, and graphic and mixed media artist; a print by Adam Cooper-Terán, graphic designer, painter, visualist and performer; and sugar sculptures by Rehab El-Sadek, multimedia artist. Julia Forrest, Nigel Grimmer, Stephen Hoffman, and Shelton Walsmith will contribute photographs, and Becky Franco, Carin Riley, Gus Yero, and Batya Kuncman will present paintings. The show will also include marbling by Yasemin Ozsavasci Nehan, a German-born Turkish-American artist; a fiber drawing by French artist Flore Gardner on a found photograph; sculptures by Irene Gennaro, Beth Krensky, and Howard Lerner; a costume by Zac Monday; a patchwork installation by Shervone Neckles' drawing on the mystical wizardry of Afro-Caribbean Obeah practices; a video installation by Jennie Thwing; and a collaborative multimedia drawing by Asya Dodina & Slava Polishchuk.

Amulets, Nazars & Evil Eyes is curated by Tara Mathison. A member of the Brooklyn artist collective 3rd Ward, Mathison received an MA and MFA in printmaking while teaching drawing at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She has exhibited extensively in the United States and internationally. During her 10-plus years of curating, Mathison has focused on contemporary artists and visual culture. At the Queens College Art Center, she has worked with more than 50 artists and 20 exhibitions since 2007.

The exhibition is free and open to the public. Images, as well as biographical and sales information, are available upon request. For additional information, please visit

WHERE: Queens College Art Center (part of the Selma and Max Kupferberg Center for the Arts)
Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library, Level Six
Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Flushing
Curated by Tara Mathison, Queens College Art Center
Opening Reception and Artists’ Talks: Wednesday, May 2, 5-8 pm


Gallery Hours:  Monday through Thursday, 9am–8 pm; Friday and May 29– June 28, 9 am–5 pm; closed weekends and holidays. Free and open to the public.


Gallery Contacts:  For more info: (718) 997-3770

For directions to Queens College, please visit . For a campus map, go to (Rosenthal Library/Art Center). 

The Queens College Art Center, founded in 1987, succeeds the Queens College Art Library Gallery established in 1960. In more than 200 exhibitions to date, the Art Center has shown masters like Alice Neel, Joseph Cornell, and Elizabeth Catlett, and introduced scores of artists from around the globe. Focusing on modern and contemporary programming expressive

of the best art of our time, this display space presents the works of emerging and established artists in diverse media. Art Center exhibitions support the educational and cultural objectives of Queens College. The shared goal of the Queens College Art Center and of the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College is to provide the means for participating in and upholding a democratic society through learning, adaptation, and critical thinking.



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