Emna Zghal © 2011
Helen A. Harrison
Published: May 5, 2002
from left to right: "Drifting Bodies" and "Hot Sky"
Dolan Center Gallery, Friends Academy, Piping Rock Road at Duck Pond Road, Locust Valley, (516) 676-0393. Through May 10.
Ms. Légaré's painted relief constructions are an odd amalgam of disparate cultural references, from naïve art to Hindu and Buddhist symbolism. Strange connections are formed among unrelated elements, as might happen in a dream, although the imagery is more deliberate than dreamlike. Map fragments, shoes and other symbols allude to movement through time and space, as do titles like ''Scenic Path'' and ''Ways to Go.'' But the past, enshrined in ''House of Memories'' and ''Storage Unit,'' also has a hold on the artist, prompting the evocation of paths to enlightenment rather than physical or emotional escape.
Ms. Zghal's mixed-media paintings combine woodcut printing with drawing and pastel for a layered effect that lets the carved patterns and natural wood grain show through the translucent surfaces. Intimations of swirling clouds, or perhaps eddying water, are obscured by veils of wispy color that soften their contours and enhance the suggestion of interactive natural phenomena. The unprinted paintings lack the subtleties that make the woodcut-pastel combinations -- like ''Hot Sky,'' with its glowing striations playing off against misty blue whorls, and ''Drifting Bodies,'' in which two impressions of a knotted board confront each other -- so appealing.