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ART REVIEWS; Since Sept. 11, Benign Works Become Haunting

As would be expected, some of the art in the Pelham Art Center's ''Artists' September 11th Response Show'' includes photographs and video footage of the devastating events of Sept. 11. Most of the art here, however, goes past those earliest images and emotions.

David Afsah-Mohallatee's sinister-looking ''Passage of Mithra & Atar'' features silhouettes of airplanes and blackened-in circles. These airplane images may remind some of the charts issued to strategically placed spotters of enemy aircraft, who were set up as an early warning system during World War II. The blackened circles could be parachutes, indications that the events of Sept. 11 were an invasion.
Alberto Goris is a New York City narcotics detective, who spent many of the early days at ground zero.

Mr. Goris is also an accomplished artist, and his painting, ''United We Stand'' is one of this show's most memorable works. It shows the famous couple from Grant Wood's painting ''American Gothic'' (1930) dressed in army fatigues. The pitchfork is replaced with a machine gun as the two stand guard at ground zero. Mr. Goris does not change the facial expressions as seen in the Grant Wood painting, where they suggest the hard and focused life of the farmer. In Mr. Goris's version, with the rubble of the Twin Towers in the background, the couple's facial expressions now seem to signify a mixture of somber disbelief and unwavering determination.

Perhaps the best piece in the show is Karlos Carcamo's ''Untitled 1 (From the September Series).'' It's a simple work comprised of two vertical canvases painted the same perfect sky blue.

It was a particularly beautiful morning for most of us on the ground, just before that first plane hit. Today, in that void left by the towers, and despite all that has happened, there can still be seen that same blue sky. Perhaps the artist is leaving us with the hope that we will weather this storm too.

New York Times