At Gallery 263, Hana Yilma Godine's 'Spaces Within Space' Creates Room for Interpretation

Pamela Reynolds, WBUR, January 17, 2020

The figures are languid and peaceful. They gaze out of the frame placidly, seemingly deep in contemplation.


What are these figures — all of whom are female — thinking? Are they pondering the intersectionality of race and gender? Musing over the dark history of colonialism? Reflecting on economic justice or iniquities in class?


Or maybe they’re just resting.


In Hana Yilma Godine’s solo show “Spaces Within Space” at Gallery 263 in Cambridge, the significance of Godine’s figures is left completely (and refreshingly) to the interpretation of the viewer. Harkening back to an earlier time in art history when painting was largely an observational exercise rather than social commentary, the dozen or so handsome large-scale paintings include both figures and a group of intimate landscapes painted in a soft palette of lilacs, greens, browns and yellows. The paintings exude both a sense of tranquility and solid earthiness, managing to feel both anticipatory and reflective.


The work, Godine says, is about “how people experience different ways of being around the world.”