Cate McQuaid
Boston Globe Sept 9, 2009
The ties that bind


Christy Georg has spent time on sailing ships, and her crafty conceptual show “Nautical Body’’ at Trustman Art Gallery at Simmons College makes wry use of knots and rope - crucial to any sailing vessel, and ripe with the potential for metaphor.

Two 6-foot-tall “Giant Becket-Brooches’’ face each other in the gallery. Beckets are sea-chest handles made of knotted rope; historically, each sailor made his own, and they were said to reflect his seamanship and character, Georg writes in an annotated title list. Making them so big, Georg further fetishizes them.
She fashioned her “Love-ly Beckets,’’ out of black and white ropes, to be worn as necklaces by a couple. They function as wedding rings, but they also resemble yokes or neck shackles, and the bond of love slips disturbingly in the direction of bondage. That comes up in an even kinkier manner with “Chafe Gear for Hand and Forearm,’’ seen here in two large photos. Sailors wear chafe gear to avoid rope burn, but Georg’s version, made out of finely knotted black twine, looks more like part of a dominatrix’s costume. Or perhaps her equipment; the artist’s notes suggest the gloves render the hand immobile.

The show is not all ropes and relationships, though. “Six Frigates’’ is a witty installation of telescopes in front of a seascape drawn on plexiglass. Peer into a telescope, and see a sailing ship. The artist clearly savors sailing lore, and the joys of life on a ship, but the show is best when her gear makes dark, contemporary references. Georg will stage a performance with some of her works and a sea chantey at the opening reception tomorrow evening.