Leila Heller Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in the seventh edition of Abu Dhabi Art, November 18 – 21, 2015, at the Saadiyat Cultural District, booth A7. Highlighting formal experimentations in modern and contemporary art, the booth features a trans-‐regional group of artists who push the boundaries of aesthetics and material possibilities.
In his Endless Prayers series, Y.Z. Kami explores spirituality through the use of light and large-‐scale collage. By interweaving mixed-‐media collages on paper, he uses Persian poetry and religious scriptures arranged in circles to recall the ritual of prayer and the mosaics of sacred architecture. His Golden Dome paintings additionally convey a sense of universal spirituality in the form of a central bright light that spills over countless rows of tiny golden rectangles hand-‐painted or stamped onto the canvas.
Ahmed AlSoudani is known for his vividly colored and surreal acrylic and charcoal canvases, in which distorted, grotesque faces and body parts portray the horrors of war. This motif draws on the artist’s own experiences of recent wars in Iraq, the imagery of devastation and violence evoking a universal experience of conflict and human suffering. Despite the gravity of his themes, his stylistic lightheartedness, often bordering on graphic or cartoonish, adds a dream-‐like element of the whimsical, depicting the surreal quality of life in a warzone.
Renown for her embroidered paintings, Ghada Amer also produces illustrations, installations, metal pieces and most recently ceramics, as she expands her expressions of femininity through different forms. The sculpture on view expresses femininity in the context of love through the act of an abstracted embrace. In the form of an egg shape, figural representation is revealed only through the elaborate and openly mended gold plated bronze designs.
Wim Delvoye is a neo-‐conceptual artist whose diverse oeuvre breaks boundaries and explores the tension between opposites. In the work on view, Daphnis and Chloe, Delvoye explores a spiraled variation on Mathurin Moreau’s Daphnis and Chloé, made out of polished bronze, in which the figures of the lovers become almost indistinguishable in turns and twists of shiny refined metal. This reinterpretation of the classic style is in line with the artist’s body of work which is often described as a combination of high and low, sublime and profane, exceptional and universal.
American artist Ross Bleckner incorporates symbolic imagery rather than direct representation to create visually elusive forms that constantly change in focus. In Parallel Dome, Bleckner creates a hypnotic and dizzying effect through pure abstraction of stripes and color to generate visual patterns and illusions of space and light. In Untitled, glowing dots float to form the interior of a vast curved vault— the glow imparted by Bleckner’s careful dispersion of pigments on on canvas: using an airbrush not to apply color, but to move it around as it floats in its liquid medium.
In her new series of Grid/Cuts works, Hadieh Shafie incorporates added layers of work on cotton matte-‐ board. While visually the familiar word eshgh (Love) is used to create systematic rhythm in the center of the works, she activates the surface as the edges are repeatedly cut, alluding to the text being stretched, marked and clawed away. Although these pieces are considered drawings, the surface is textured and resembles sculptural work.
Leila Heller Gallery is particularly proud to present a focused section of the booth dedicated to Modernist masters Charles Hossein Zenderoudi and Paul Guiragossian. One of the pioneers of Iranian Modernism, Zenderoudi’s practice pushes beyond the boundaries of Iranian Calligraphy and art. By emphasizing form over meaning, and by stripping the written word down to its aesthetics, and structures, Zenderoudi subverts traditional values of calligraphy. Guiragossian’s oeuvres represent a lifetime of formal inquiry spent seeking to narrow the gap between realistic form and abstract gesture. On his canvases, women, children and men become faceless imprints delineated by vibrant brushstrokes; their psychological loneliness and corporeal isolation portrayed though patches of color that are adjacent but never overlapping.
Cutting across local artistic paradigms, the artists showcased in Leila Heller Gallery’s booth make brilliant use of non-‐conventional materials to redefine conventional painting and sculpture.
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