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Michal Rovner charts ghostly migrations

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Michal Rovner depicts figures within figures - elegiac work teeming with ghosts
Migratory journeys with Michal Rovner at Shoshana Wayne Gallery

In Michal Rovner’s latest exhibition at Shoshana Wayne, the darkened main gallery becomes a cavernous, hushed space — like a chapel or perhaps a tomb — dominated by the elegant, wall-size video projection “Current Cross.”

It features two large, white rectangles composed of pulsing feathery marks that slowly merge into one and then divide again. Along their bottom edges, a steady stream of tiny black figures makes a ragged procession around the two chalky shapes.

Examined more closely, the shapes are also composed of thousands of little white ambulatory figures. Already elegiac, the rectangles are in fact teeming with ghosts.

This theme is echoed in a smaller projection onto 11 slabs of black limestone. Here, tiny figures crisscross a barren landscape, continually bridging the gaps in the stones, some of which are also covered with the waving silhouettes of cypress trees.

This migratory motif also appears in a group of six ingenious video “paintings,” each spanning two LCD screens butted against each other. Rovner cleverly uses the cypresses to disguise the screen’s hard black frames; the trees simultaneously divide and unite the rocky landscapes.

Rovner was born in Tel Aviv, and it’s hard not to read these images as a kind of Israeli mythology. However, by keeping the figures tiny and nondescript and the landscapes abstract, she has created images resonant of all kinds of displacement. We have all felt like wanderers at some point, trudging we know not where.

Shoshana Wayne, 2525 Michigan Ave. B1, Santa Monica, (310) 453-7535, through July 12. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.shoshanawayne.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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