Ariel Basson Freiberg | Hellbent

November 16, 2020 - March 19, 2021: Online Exhibition Open 
November 16, 2020 - May 28, 2021: Installation on View*


*WSRC and the Kniznick Gallery will open to the Brandeis campus community on Nov. 16. We are closed to the general public, but those outside the Brandeis community are welcome to attend our virtual Spring 2021 programs.  The gallery is open by appointment to the Brandeis community. 

HELLBENT, image of woman's legs taking big stride, landscape with people in the distance, visible from between her legs, her torso replaced by wild painted gestures

Ariel Basson Freiberg, "Precession of the Equinoxes," 2020. oil on linen, 42" x 36"

The Kniznick Gallery presents "Hellbent," a solo exhibition by Ariel Basson Freiberg. "Hellbent" explores the structure of spectatorship through paintings that fluctuate between the divide of spectacle and concealment. Drawing from narratives and representations of Salome, the young woman who lasciviously danced in exchange for the head of John the Baptist, Freiberg beckons us to consider the nature of the infamous performance in relation to desire, gender, sexuality, and power. Through the sensuous and energetic handling of her medium, Freiberg operates alongside her protagonist, and her painterly gestures multitask as form and narration.

The reliance on Salome’s unstable narrative has long been fodder for the arts through painting, theater, opera and film. Fascination typically surrounds the gruesome head on the platter in contrast to the girl with alternating and often contradictory expressions of her femininity. Salome’s character changes before our very eyes through these multiple retellings, but her audience does as well. In "Hellbent," the artist zeros in on the dance itself, and the potential of the transgressive act to become a resource of self-assertion. Freiberg places the characters in domestic settings, with subtle references to contemporary online viewing. The figures in each work use their lower limbs to provide a picture-in- picture effect within the frame of the canvas. Centered within these frames are the main act; a deviant output of fiery clouds and misty aerosols, exerted to interrupt the drama and blur expectations.

View the Online Exhibition


Virtual Artist Lecture | Ariel Basson Freiberg

February 9, 2021

5 p.m. (EST)

Boston-based artist Ariel Basson Freiberg will give a virtual lecture on her work, studio practice, and exhibition "Hellbent" at the Kniznick Gallery.


The Flesh in Question | Virtual Discussion with Ariel Basson Freiberg and Stephanie Dvareckas

March 16, 2021

5 p.m. (EST)

Artist Ariel Basson Freiberg, whose work draws on the history of Salome, will discuss her current exhibition Hellbent with critic Stephanie Dvareckas. They will examine the exhibition in relation to Linda Nochlin's 1983 essay "The Imaginary Orient" and some notable historical artworks featuring Salome.