A Way Out: Inside the Labyrinth
Categories: architecture, art, living, love

By: Michelina Docimo

"Mornings of Gold," Amber Maida, 36x48

Back in February, at the opening of Industrial Strength in Bridgeport, I was introduced to Amber Maida’s art.  A multi-artist show in one room, I started my walk at the entrance, from right to left, like Arabic text.  But when I turned around, along the back wall, a magnetic pull brought me to the center of the earth.  I was entranced.  Finally, I forced myself away to look at other works.  The room started to fill with guests and tinkering music and I noticed a woman in a striking long black and white bold block pattern dress.  I met several of the artists that night, and with others, like Amber, unknowingly crossed paths.  The next day, via email, I connected with Amber and realized she was the one in black and white.  We bonded quickly and she augured a solo exhibit in early summer at the Black Rock and invited me to attend to meet in person.

When I arrived at the opening June 4th, I entered the gallery and recognized familiar “Dualities” and “Worldly” hanging on the back wall.  This time, a stronger force pulled me into a side room, and there stood Amber in another black and white striped dress.  We exchanged warm hellos and then I began my journey into the Labyrinth.

 The first piece, “Mornings of Gold,” glimmered enticingly, offering three arched doorways in the center of peaked cave-like structures.  Their white facades, meticulously covered in black labyrinth lines, reminded me of Santa Maria Novella in Florence and Il Duomo di San Lorenzo in Genoa and Amber’s dress.  They could be cathedrals, temples, or mosques; they could be purgatory, heaven, or hell.  The choice is yours.  To Amber, they represent the Three Fates of Greek mythology who spin our destinies.  Hanging loosely from the top of the piece, are braided threads, at some points knotted, then released again into individual strands of varying lengths, like our lives.  White crackled eggshell paths lead to coral-colored doors, the center one slightly ajar, with an echoing voice forewarning, “Choose wisely.”  In the corner, an ominous black drippy cloud, with a light gray center, like an eye or keyhole, watching over the Fates.

 The colors Amber chooses are just as intentional.  “The dirty brown with barely there touches of pearl- symbolize the hardest moments of our life and the most wonderful ones. The knotted bundle of string in that particular piece is representing a family… how with certain people, no matter how terrible things get, we can’t stop loving them or being a part of their life, it also represents our want to hold onto life, fear, hope and condolence,” reflects Amber.

 Many of Amber’s works in Labyrinth contain elements of choice – doors, skeleton keys, opening and closing.  There are mazes, stairs, and ladders, fragmented pieces and others fusing, vibrations and reflections, air, earth, and water.   “Choice to be Made,” the largest piece in the show, feels as if you are walking into a door or under the veil of a waterfall cascade.  The glossiness of the finish is reflective and blurred, as if you were seeing undersea.  Colors of coral red, acqua blue, and turquoise green create a calm seascape, with fragments of an emotional earth erupting underneath. 

"Choice to be Made," Amber Maida, 24x80

 A dancer, Amber is an artist of movement, and incorporates elegant kinetics in a musical remix of paints and lyrics.  Inspired by David Bowie are six smaller works that seem to be excerpts of our lives, mostly moments of love and hope.  “In the Air,” a painting of sky blues, whites, and silver, reveals dancing figures on varying stage heights.  Their movements in the air seem to be reflected below in water, floating through life.

"Fragile," Amber Maida, 12x12

As the gallery packed, for an instant I thought to myself that what I had seen would suffice and it would be ok if I couldn’t read the smaller works.  But curiosity pushed me forward into a corner behind the door where “Fragile” hung.  A carbon black piece with a diamond center, formed upon layer and layer of metal-like squares, like flower petals, I found Life.  A ray of light opening in the darkness, it resembled a sonogram image with a blossoming fetus. I found myself ending the Labyrinth where it all begins. 

 Amber Maida’s Labyrinth runs from June 4 – July 23, 2010

 The Gallery at Black Rock

2861 Fairfield Ave.

Bridgeport, CT

Photos Contributed by: Peter Maida

Please read my post Industrial Evolution: The Changing Cityscape for more on Amber Maida:

Visit Amber Maida’s website:


4 Comments to “A Way Out: Inside the Labyrinth”

  1. What a lovely invitation to inspect the strong abstract artworks more closely and to project symbols with them…
    I love this writing about art. It illumines. Amber and Michelina, how wonderful you two struck a chord together!

  2. mdocimo says:

    Kathy – Thank you for the compliment! It means so much to have your support.

  3. Israel Zevallos says:

    Again ; your intelligent, accurate and
    valuable artistic criticism captivated me. Thank you

  4. mdocimo says:

    Thanks for your support Israel!

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