“So the work of art resembles the perceived object: it is seen or heard and no definition or analysis, however valuable it may be afterwards as a way of taking stock, can ever replace the direct perceptual experience” – Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Art of Our Century gallery is thrilled to present a group show, Forget What You Know, curated by expert art consultant Kourosh Mahboubian.
Participating artists include Chambliss Giobbi, Anthony Haden-Guest, Blake Hiltunen, M. Henry Jones, Dindga McCannon, Tyrone Mitchell, Marjan Moghaddam, Zahra Nazari, Sudi Sharafshahi and Khari Turner.
“Forget What You Know is an exhibition about seeing,” says Mahboubian. “It’s about seeing with our eyes and our senses as an act of innate perception, without the constraints of conscious thought. The art’s meaning is presented to us in our experience of it, with no need for further critical analysis to appreciate it.”
The socially distanced opening reception will take place over three afternoons, Thursday October 15th, Friday October 16th and Saturday October 17th, from 4 to 7 pm each day. Masks are a must. Wine and hand sanitizer will be available to gallery guests.
This exhibition brings together the disparate oeuvres of ten artists working in different media into an environment intended to stimulate and please the viewer’s senses, much as would happen if one were to take a walk in a beautiful garden. Each artist’s work is somehow connected to that of one or two others in the group, but not to all of them. There is also the ever present sense of a collective unconscious that we are all connected to. When the pieces are seen together in one space, the perception given is that of a unified, cohesive body of work that inherently makes sense.
Chambliss Giobbi’s collages and melted Crayola paintings capture impressions of our unconscious perceptions of things. We can delight in his melted crayon miniature copies of famous paintings even as we struggle to recall the appearance of the original works. His collages capture impressions of their subjects from different angles and moments in time, causing our eyes to keep scanning in search of new expressions.
Anthony Haden-Guest incorporates humorous social commentary into cartoons. He self-avowedly tries to express the inexpressible and sometimes the unspeakable by making it funny and good to look at. Placing his cartoons on mirrors, he forces us to laugh at ourselves as we envision our failures and shortcomings.
Blake Hiltunen’s surreal sculptures reinterpret figurative objects as though they have been subjected to the collapsing time, space and gravity of an alternate reality. The works, which begin as whole, detailed figurative objects, have some of their original material removed, warped, or altered in such a way as to reflect the imagined outcome of a transformation through a natural catastrophic event.
M. Henry Jones’ work exists on the threshold of perception. His Fly’s Eye imagery shows us the world through technology that imitates aspects of the image recognition mechanism of a dragonfly. Using arrays of lenticular optics, he fragments visual reality in order to reconstruct it in a different place, allowing us to see three-dimensional photographic imagery without the use of special glasses or goggles.
Dindga McCannon incorporates unconventional materials into textile constructions that draw their subject matter from the history of unsung African-American women heroes. Her art is part quilting, part sculpture, part collage, part painting, part beading and part embroidery, bringing together the traditional life skills she was taught as a young woman with those she acquired through her lifelong commitment to being an artist.
Tyrone Mitchell’s sculpture comes from an abstract tradition, shared with artists like David Hammons and Martin Puryear, in which the story of the African American experience, rather than its imagery, is the key to everything. He manipulates forms and materials, using combinations of distinct everyday objects and abstract shapes made of wood, metal, fabric or other materials, in such a way that it pulls one into the story.
Marjan Moghaddam’s computer generated scenes of transmogrifying digital humanoid creatures interacting with the real world challenge our ideas of what is and what can be. Her work explores Being, through digital embodiments.
Zahra Nazari curves and twists calligraphic-like lines of light and darkness into translucent, airy, seemingly living and breathing paintings and sculptures that depict very real architectural structures. Her works are further characterized by a twisting of space that leaves us feeling like we are visiting her structures in our dreams.
Sudi Sharafshahi uses stylized figuration in her paintings, multimedia images and ceramic sculptures to dramatize the humanness that binds us together when we experience the joys, struggles and tedium of daily life. She imbues her subjects with universally understood emotional expressions that make them instantly relatable.
Khari Turner’s multimedia paintings on paper, wood or canvas engage us in a search for missing connections. They do this both literally in the abstract spaces we see connecting the figurative elements of his images, and figuratively in the implied desire for a bridge connecting the past we have experienced to a future we hope for.
– Kourosh Mahboubian, October 2020
Forget What You Know runs through November 15. Regular hours are Thursday to Sunday 2 pm to 6 pm, and by appointment. Masks always a must.